The public corruption trial of Benjamin Netanyahu continued on Monday before the Jerusalem District Court with a key state’s witness against the former prime minister lamenting, “For four years I had to bear the mark of Cain on my head” as the defense cross-examined him for a third day.
Shlomo Filber was referring to the fact that to become a state’s witness, he had to betray his former boss, Netanyahu.
As part of this betrayal in favor of the prosecution, for years Filber endured massive attacks in the media and verbal abuse at his home from Netanyahu supporters.
Filber further complained on Monday that he had been unable to respond to attacks that accused him of being a turncoat against Netanyahu until the trial began.
Part of what Filbert was trying to do on Monday was explain statements he has made in court regarding the Bezeq-Walla Affair that were helpful to Netanyahu, despite his being a prosecution witness.
In Filber’s narrative, he has only testified for the prosecution about meetings and phone calls he had with Netanyahu that the prosecution wants to highlight for Case 4000.
That said, Filber has made it clear that while he thinks his concealed back channel with Bezeq related to certain government policies was problematic, he does not think either his or Netanyahu’s actions were criminal.
In another instance, Filber testified that when police knocked on his door, “I knew it was the end.”
He then explained that when police knocked on the door to arrest him, with his then being the director-general of a government ministry, he was sure that the police would stop at nothing to get at Netanyahu.
In other words, if the police were willing to arrest a senior official like him at 6 a.m., they would stop at nothing to go after the former prime minister.
During his testimony, Filber has accused the police of being like rottweiler dogs in their attempts to try to find a criminal basis to charge Netanyahu.
One reason he said his back channel with Bezeq was only problematic, and not criminal, was because he had an open-door policy for all large companies, not just Bezeq.
Filber testified in detail about his quiet meetings with senior officials at Hot Telecommunications, Partner Communications and a number of other media companies.
These statements were helpful for the defense, which hoped to convince the court that the Netanyahu government gave Bezeq only slightly more favorable treatment than what was given to other companies, and nothing criminal.
In addition, Filber said there was nothing criminal about his using his personal email in communicating with Bezeq.
He said he was not using his personal email to hide any sort of illegal alleged media bribery scheme for Netanyahu.
Rather, he said he used his government and personal email addresses interchangeably for government business based on what was most convenient at the moment. This point is also important to the defense to try to prove that his back channel with Bezeq was not a cover-up of criminal conduct.
Along with former top Netanyahu aide turned state’s witness Nir Hefetz who previously testified, Filber has been one of the prosecution’s two main witnesses for Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla Affair.
If Hefetz provided the prosecution’s narrative for allegations against Netanyahu on the Walla side of the case, over the course of around three weeks starting on March 23, Filber closed the circle by testifying in favor of the prosecution narrative against the former prime minister on the Bezeq side.