A-G rejects allegations of police violations in Case 4000

Mandelblit also rejected allegations that the rights of Shaul Elovitch and his son, Or, were violated by police.

Avichay Mandelblit attends Ayelet Shaked's goodbye party. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Avichay Mandelblit attends Ayelet Shaked's goodbye party.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit rejected allegations that the police had illegally pressured state’s witnesses to lie in order to incriminate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Case 4000, or that the rights of the Elovitch family had been violated.
Referring to a Channel 12 report on the issue and an inquiry from Israel Bar Association President Avi Himi, Mandelblit said on Tuesday that the process of “drafting” state’s witnesses is complex, but that any state’s witnesses were told that they must tell the truth at all times.
At the center of the Bezeq-Walla Affair in which Netanyahu is eventually expected to be indicted for bribery are former top Netanyahu aides and state’s witnesses Shlomo Filber and Nir Hefetz.
Filber and Hefetz have accused Netanyahu of directing them to carry out an illegal scheme in which Shaul Elovitch, owner of Bezeq and Walla, would get favorable treatment from the government in exchange for positive coverage for the prime minister by Walla.
Netanyahu has responded that they were pressured into lying in order to bring him down.
Mandelblit also rejected allegations that the rights of Shaul Elovitch and his son, Or, were violated by police.
In the Channel 12 report was a recording of Shaul and Or speaking about the possibility of switching lawyers.
Channel 12 implied that the police had pressured Or into trying to get Shaul to switch lawyers so that he would agree to turn state’s witness against Netanyahu.
Furthermore, Channel 12 implied that the Elovitchs’ attorney-client privileges might have been violated by their being recorded.
Mandelblit said that Or Elovitch’s idea about switching lawyers was his own, and not planted by the police.
Moreover, he said that the Elovitchs were recorded while they were under arrest, and that during that period, they did not have a specific right to privacy for their conversations.
Finally, Mandelblit said that at no time was the attorney-client privilege violated as no conversations with lawyers were recorded, only conversations by the Elovitch family members about their lawyers.
Despite all of the justifications of the police conduct at the organizational level, Mandelblit did leave open the possibility of some kind of police wrongdoing. He said that a review was under way to see if there were limited and specific violations by individual officers.
In the event such violations were found, he said that appropriate action could be taken against those officers as in any other case.
It was unclear if Mandelblit was hinting at police misconduct in recording the Elovitch family, meaning that even if no lawyer was recorded, the recording of family members in that situation might have constituted a violation.
Netanyahu’s lawyers responded to Mandelblit saying that his response made no sense. They said that the full case-file of evidence that he sent them shows a vast picture of witness tampering by police.
Netanyahu’s lawyers also claimed that the police threatened the state’s witnesses by saying that their families could fall apart, and pressured them to switch to lawyers who would work toward a plea deal.
Netanyahu’s lawyers received part of Mandelblit’s response with sarcasm. Whereas Mandelblit said that Channel 12’s report was a half-baked leak taking the case out of context, Netanyahu’s lawyers said that the media has been using half-baked leaks against the prime minister for three years. His lawyers asked where Mandelblit has been to defend against half-baked leaks during that three-year period when he was not the one under attack.
Himi, who lashed out at the police after the Channel 12 report, declined to respond to Mandelblit’s letter.
Meanwhile, the state prosecution put out its annual report on Wednesday morning, the first such report giving public statistics about the prosecution’s international and cyber departments.
The report showed that 84% of indictments that went to trial in 2018 led to convictions, and that 99% of cases were resolved within two years. This was significant, as a standard complaint against the prosecution is that cases are kept open for too long, with no particular rhyme or reason.
Regarding the Police Investigations Department, indictments were filed against police in only 9% of the cases out of 728 complaints against police officers, though 21% of the cases did get referred for disciplinary action.