Elovitches to court: Dismiss us from Netanyahu trial

The Elovitches are at the center of the case against Benjamin Netanyahu because Shaul is accused of engaging in a bribery scheme with the former prime minister.

 THEN-PRIME Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is surrounded by Likud lawmakers as he gives a press statement ahead of the start of his trial at Jerusalem District Court last year.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
THEN-PRIME Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is surrounded by Likud lawmakers as he gives a press statement ahead of the start of his trial at Jerusalem District Court last year.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Former Bezeq and Walla owner Shaul Elovitch and his wife, Iris Elovitch, filed a motion on Wednesday with the Jerusalem District Court to dismiss them from Case 4000 on the grounds of unjust treatment.

The Elovitches are at the center of the case against Benjamin Netanyahu. Shaul is accused of engaging in a bribery scheme with the former prime minister for favorable government treatment of Bezeq in exchange for favorable media coverage of Netanyahu at Walla.

Iris is accused of involvement in select aspects of the media coverage on the Walla side of the scheme. These include passing messages between Sara Netanyahu and Shaul or other Walla personnel, and of knowledge that there was a quid pro quo.

According to the motion, the defense said the prosecution and the police abused the defendants in a systematic manner; an accusation has been borne out as the trial has developed over the last two-plus years.

Abusive treatment by police

The motion especially cites the police’s abusive treatment of former Netanyahu top aide Nir Hefetz.

Israeli businessman, Shaul Elovitch arrives for a court hearing in the trial against former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the District Court in Jerusalem on March 9, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)Israeli businessman, Shaul Elovitch arrives for a court hearing in the trial against former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the District Court in Jerusalem on March 9, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The prosecution previously replied that not everything that was done with Hefetz was proper. However, prosecutors say his testimony – that he turned against Netanyahu out of a rational calculation of his own interests and to tell the truth – serves to mitigate the impact on the case regarding how Hefetz was treated.

In addition, the defense said the police manufactured a narrative and then tried to coerce many witnesses – including former Netanyahu top aide Shlomo Filber – to play ball with that narrative

The prosecution has said Filber’s accusations against Netanyahu were all voluntary. They also claim that any changes of testimony he made from the police to court related to his loyalty to Netanyahu politically as well as an attempt to improve his image after committing crimes.

In another instance, the defense said the prosecution failed to probe a number of issues that could have helped the defense, something they have a duty to do. They also said the defense only was able to uncover these issues later on its own.

One example was that the prosecution did not bother to check Filber and Netanyahu’s diaries and cellphone GPS records. That led them to allege that Filber had a crucial meeting with Netanyahu on a day when records clearly prove he was elsewhere.

The prosecution has admitted this was a point of failure, but has shown Filber could have met with Netanyahu on alternate, viable dates.

Generally, the prosecution rejected the motion to dismiss as a repeat of an earlier, similar motion that the court rejected.

However, the defense argued that the earlier motion was filed before the court had seen a voluminous number of unfair errors by the prosecution.