Prosecutors' strike prevents Hanegbi appeal

MK quits Knesset after 22 years; State Prosecutor's Office doesn't appeal verdict in political appointments case by deadline of 45 days after ruling.

311_Tzahi Hanegbi (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
311_Tzahi Hanegbi
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Years of legal turmoil for Kadima MK Tzahi Hanegbi appeared to end on Thursday when the State Prosecutor’s Office did not appeal the verdict in his political appointments case by the deadline of 45 days after the ruling.
Hanegbi emerged the victor in the 38-day prosecutors’ strike when State Prosecutor Moshe Lador instructed his team not to break the strike in order to appeal Hanegbi’s verdict, despite the importance his office attached to the case.
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“We did not [break the strike] with other important files, so we will not in this one either,” Lador said.
Hanegbi was automatically suspended from the Knesset on November 8 when the Jerusalem District Court found moral turpitude in his perjury conviction. When it became clear on Thursday that neither side would appeal the verdict, he came to the Knesset to formally quit.
“My tenure in the Knesset stops now after 22 exciting years in which I had the honor of serving the state of Israel,” said Hanegbi, who is now a Jerusalem Post columnist. “I will continue to do my best to help Israel even when I am no longer a part of this house.”
Hanegbi is allowed to run for the next Knesset and his associates made clear that he would resume his political career after a short hiatus.
Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin wished him well upon receiving his resignation.
“This is a sad moment for me,” Rivlin said. “He had a successful past and I hope he has an even better future.”
Jerusalem district prosecutor Eli Abarbanel wrote a letter to Hanegbi’s lawyers on Thursday informing them that because of the strike, he would not be submitting an appeal, but said that once the strike was over, he would request a special exemption to file the appeal after the 45-day limit required by law.
“The appeal in Hanegbi’s case, which focuses on the dismissal of the indictments of fraud and breach of trust due to the ‘protection of justice’ and his acquittal of the charges of election bribery and attempts to sway voters with promises of benefits, has yet to be filed. Due to the prosecutors’ strike, we are unable to file the motion to appeal within the period prescribed by the law,” wrote Abarbanel. “As soon as it becomes possible, we plan to address the district court with a request to extend the appeal filing date in order to allow the case to be seen out to its fullest.”
In response, Hanegbi’s lawyers said that they would not file a one-sided appeal against the indictments for the charges of perjury, nor for the court’s decision that Hangebi was guilty of moral turpitude, which forced him out of the Knesset. Their letter went on to state that despite Hanegbi’s many complaints about the handling of his case, due to the high public and private price he paid, he preferred to see the proceedings come to an end.
Hanegbi’s lawyers added that they doubted the Supreme Court would accept an appeal that was filed after the deadline.
The State Prosecutors Committee announced on Thursday that it would convene on Sunday to discuss strike escalations. The committee called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to immediately intervene after a late meeting Wednesday night between the prosecutors and the Finance Ministry, which was mediated by Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini, failed to bring the strike to a close.
State Prosecutor Moshe Lador on Thursday called on Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz to use his influence to bring an end to the strike, which has been ongoing for the last month and a half.
Lador stated that the difference between the two sides was NIS 18 million a year for all the prosecutors, an amount he called “miniscule.” Lador was critical of the Finance Ministry’s representative in the negotiations, salary supervisor Elan Levin, saying that if it was electric company workers or someone that the state deemed more worthy, they would “sit all night and find a solution.”
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.