The public corruption trial of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu took many wild turns on Monday as he tried to press his advantage after the prosecution amended the indictment on Sunday.
Sticking it to the prosecution, Netanyahu emerged from the courtroom and said: “That is what is called, ‘In your face.’”
The former prime minister was clearly referring to the prosecution’s admittance to the Jerusalem District Court that its dating of a key meeting between Netanyahu and former aide Shlomo Filber could not have taken place.
Despite this tactical victory for Netanyahu, Filber insisted that the meeting took place despite the incorrect date in the indictment.
The harder the defense pushed for Filber’s admittance of the meeting being a fabrication, the more he resisted.
While under questioning from the judges, Filber explicitly said he remembered the meeting “photographically” and that he was certain it took place.
However, when the judges pressed Filber about the content of the meeting, he admitted that suggestions made by the police regarding its content could have impacted his memory.
On Sunday, the state prosecution refrained from giving an exact date for when the meeting occurred. Instead, it claimed the meeting took place at some point when Filber was appointed Communications Ministry director-general.
The reversal came after the defense’s win last week, when it used both Netanyahu’s GPS location data and security-clearance records to demonstrate that the meeting could not have occurred within the prosecution’s stated time frame.
If the defense hopes to undermine the prosecution’s narrative, this revelation may be its most important factual victory.
According to GPS data presented by defense lawyer Boaz Ben Tzur, Filber was at a family celebration and a business meeting at the time when the prosecution argued he was meeting with Netanyahu.
In addition, the defense presented documents from Prime Minister’s Office security-clearance records, indicating that Filber did not visit the Prime Minister’s Office during the first week of June 2015. According to the records, his first visit to the Prime Minister’s Office was on June 15.
Netanyahu’s defense lawyers argued that this proved the infamous June 2015 meeting – in which Netanyahu allegedly gave Filber an order to assist with the Bezeq regulatory aspects of Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla Affair – never happened.
The prosecution has maintained that Netanyahu and Filber met both in late May and multiple times in June. As such, it believes the exact date of that particular meeting is not critical – so long as the judges accept that Filber is telling the truth.