Those who declared on Tuesday that the public corruption trial against former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is dead are jumping the gun, former police chief Roni Alsheich said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Meir Dagan Conference at Netanya Academic College, Alsheich, who was the police chief who recommended indicting Netanyahu in 2018, was responding to questions about the trial after a major win for Netanyahu’s defense team on Tuesday.
The day before
The Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday rejected the prosecution's key request in the Netanyahu trial to amend its Case 4000 indictment narrative while approving a more minor request to amend the Case 1000 narrative.
The rejection was a major setback for the prosecution, but the judges notably left the door open to a conviction using an esoteric provision of the law.
On May 15, in a stunning reversal, the prosecution filed the request to amend the indictment.
According to the request, the state would back off from giving an exact week when an alleged key meeting took place between Netanyahu and key prosecution witness Shlomo Filber. Instead, it would have claimed the meeting took place without giving a date other than saying it was around the time when Filber was appointed Communications Ministry director-general.
The reversal came after a win by the defense when they used a mix of GPS cellphone location data as well as data from the Prime Minister’s Office security clearance records to demonstrate that Filber could not have met with Netanyahu at the time that the prosecution said a critical meeting took place.
The revelation might be the single most important factual victory by the defense to date in undermining aspects of the prosecution narrative.
Alsheich refused to get into the details of the trial, saying it was problematic to lean on the judges and that they should be allowed to decide without pressure.
However, he said he stood by the police investigation as having gone above and beyond to get to the truth and remained confident in their work.
He did add that former attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit had sometimes limited the police from certain investigative activities.