Netanyahu trial - Prosecution to court: Reject motion to dismiss charges

State attorney called on the court to move forward with the trial in February as scheduled.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the Knesset, December 2, 2020 (photo credit: YONATHAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the Knesset, December 2, 2020
(photo credit: YONATHAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
The state prosecution on Thursday asked the court to reject motions to dismiss the charges in the corruption case of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Earlier this week, Netanyahu and the other defendants sought, on a variety of legal grounds, to dismiss the charges without the need for a trial, such as claimed improper actions by the police and arbitrary enforcement.
Thursday’s legal brief by the prosecution called on the court to proceed with the trial in February, as scheduled.
Rejecting claims that the removal of his parliamentary immunity was done improperly, the prosecution noted that Netanyahu himself had withdrawn his claim of immunity.
The state also drew attention that nearly a year had passed since, so why has Netanyahu suddenly raised the issue now?
The prosecution refuted Netanyahu’s substantive immunity claim that he undertook actions discussed in the indictment in his capacity while serving the state, saying his immunity does not permit him to simply violate laws such as by committing bribery and fraud.
Regarding one of Netanyahu’s central claims that police systematically bullied witnesses to make up lies to take him down, the prosecution offered multiple explanations.
First, it said that the question whether witnesses were credible, and how they were treated is for the court to address at trial, when the witnesses testify and are cross-examined.
Second, the prosecution accused Netanyahu’s lawyers of taking a series of quotes entirely out of context to paint a false picture.
Rather, it admitted that interrogations are not a pleasant experience, and that the police do indeed apply, and are allowed to apply certain forms of pressure to get law-breakers to tell the truth.
Within those boundaries, the prosecution said that the police did not violate any rules and that their main goal was to reveal the truth.
Moreover, the prosecution rejected Netanyahu’s claim that there had been arbitrary enforcement against him, since former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua was not indicted.
Yeshua is described in the Netanyahu indictment as following instructions where and when to post positive Netanyahu articles and to limit negative articles on the Walla website.
Based on this, Netanyahu’s lawyers as well as Walla owner Shaul Elovitch have claimed they were unfairly singled out.
The prosecution responded that Netanyahu is a public servant and has special duties which go beyond the duties that Yeshua might have as a private citizen.
They also said he was different from Elovitch because it was really Elovitch who concocted the media bribery scheme in Case 4000.
Next, they said Yeshua was simply carrying out aspects of his orders, without any personal benefit, which facilitated Elovitch’s promise to Netanyahu of positive media coverage.
Further, the prosecution said that Yeshua came forward at the earliest stages of the investigation and volunteered information to be helpful, as well as offering extensive documentary proof to confirm his narrative.
This was in contrast to Netanyahu and Elovitch, who the prosecution has accused of repeatedly lying about their role in the media bribery scheme.
Separately, the prosecution addressed claims by Elovitch’s wife, Iris, that she was discriminated against arbitrarily.
Iris noted that she was indicted as Shaul’s wife, while Sara Netanyahu was not indicted as the prime minister’s wife, even though she was also accused of participating in the bribery scheme.
Essentially, the prosecution said that the two women had different roles, different legal standards for a bribe giver and a bribe receiver and that it was less clear that Sara knew her actions were criminal than it was with Iris.
Earlier Thursday, the prosecution responded to a court order given earlier this week to turn over additional documents sought by the defense, arguing alternately that the defense already had many of those documents, or that the court might be unclear about the implications of turning over some internal law enforcement documents.
Regarding the internal law enforcement documents, the prosecution asked the court for clarification.