Lead Netanyahu trial judge infected with coronavirus

It is unclear whether her condition will impact the January 13 hearing.

Rivkah Friedman Feldman (photo credit: JUDICIAL AUTHORITY OF ISRAEL/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Rivkah Friedman Feldman
(photo credit: JUDICIAL AUTHORITY OF ISRAEL/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Jerusalem District Court Judge Rivkah Friedman-Feldman, the lead on the panel handling the public corruption trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been infected with the coronavirus.
A statement from the court spokesperson's office said on Wednesday that she would need to quarantine at minimum until January 1.
The statement added that at the present time, Friedman-Feldman was having a light case in terms of symptoms.
In addition, the spokesperson said that an epidemiological probe was being performed, but it was unclear at press time whether her infection would impact other judges on the Netanyahu panel which had not held a public hearing since early December.
It was also unclear whether her condition would impact the January 13 hearing which is supposed to be the final pretrial date leading into calling witnesses set for February.  
Earlier Wednesday, the state prosecution issued a range of indictments in the Bezeq case before the Tel Aviv District Court which is parallel to Case 4000 against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the Jerusalem District Court.
Wednesday’s decision confirmed the September 2019 announcement by the Tel Aviv Economic Crimes Division that it intended to indict former Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch, his son Or and a range of other top Bezeq and YES company officials for a range of fraud, insider trading, illegal reporting and obstruction of justice issues.
In addition, the prosecution decided to indict Walla in Case 4000 and Yediot Ahronot in Case 2000.
Originally, the Bezeq case in Tel Aviv was a story about an illegal merger between Bezeq and YES, being that Shaul Elovitch had powerful interests in both and that he allegedly used illegal messengers to infiltrate the merger talks which he was supposed to be kept away from to avoid a conflict of interest.
The prosecution also indicted Amikam Shorer, YES CEO Ron Ayalon, Linor Yochelman, Miki Neuman and various sub-entities of Eurocom which were under Shaul Elovitch’s control.
Yochelman was tasked with ensuring that Elovitch did not receive information relating to the merger talks and to make sure he could not influence them, due to his ownership interests in both companies.
Instead, Yochelman allegedly leaked just about everything that Elovitch needed to manipulate the outcome of the negotiations to his benefit.
Elovitch eventually benefited to the tune of around NIS 968 million.
Although the prosecution said in September 2019 that it would likely indict former Bezeq CEO Stella Handler and former legal adviser Eli Kamir, ultimately it reached an unusual non-criminal plea deal with Handler, including paying a heavy fine, and closed the case against Kamir.
The two had been accused specifically of perpetrating fraud in their dealings with former communications ministry director-general and now state’s witness against Netanyahu, Shlomo Filber.
Filber allegedly illegally leaked internal ministry communications to the Bezeq officials so that they could illegally influence ministry policy to their benefit and to the benefit of Elovitch.
The Bezeq officials even sent ministry documents back to Filber with notes and instructions about changes he needed to make to please Elovitch.
Filber has told police that he acted illegally to help Elovitch under instructions by Netanyahu as part of a scheme in which they would make money for Elovitch at Bezeq in exchange for Elovitch making sure that his media outlet, Walla!, would report on the prime minister in a positive manner.
The prosecution also closed the cases relating to the Bezeq and Case 4000 narratives for Netanyahu middle man Zeev Rubinstein, former communications official Eitan Tzafrir, former aide to the communications ministry CEO Adi Kahan and former Bezeq deputy CEO for regulation Sharon Fleisher.
Regarding former Bezeq officer Amikam Shorer and Or Elovitch, they will not be defendants in Case 4000, but they will be defendants in the Bezeq case.


Tags Trial