The witness testimony portion of the trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will kick off April 5, less than two weeks after the upcoming March 23 election, the Jerusalem District Court decided on Monday night.
Netanyahu’s legal defense team was able to get the trial postponed, claiming that it would be an unfair influence on the elections. But they rejected the requests of Netanyahu's lawyers to dismiss the cases and to not permit evidence obtained before the prime minister's investigations were authorized.
The trial will convene three days a week for six and a hours and will start with key witnesses against the prime minister.
The judges criticized Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit for not strictly following proper procedure in his cases. For instance, he did not formally file a proper request for the probe of the prime minister.
Netanyahu's lawyers told the media that they would not appeal the district court's decision to the Supreme Court. But they expressed satisfaction that the judges found flaws in Mandelblit's handling of the cases.
Likud officials said they were glad that the trial would not begin in earnest before the election.
The far right Otzma Yehudit Party called for Mandelblit to be fired.
Blue and White officials said that had their party not joined the government, Netanyahu would have found a way to have Mandelblit fired and his trial postponed indefinitely.