Previous AG Yehuda Weinstein: Mandelblit's decision was 'sound'

"It would've been better if this conversation had never happened, but the fact remains that it was a conversation between two friends," he said.

AVICHAI MANDELBLIT (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
AVICHAI MANDELBLIT
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
In light of this past week's leaking of recordings of Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit's conversations with Efi Nave, in which he expressed frustrations about then-state attorney Shai Nitzan's prevarication to legally clear his name, then-attorney-general Yehuda Weinstein reiterated the solidity and clarity of his decision to close Mandelblit's case at the time: "My decision to close Mandelblit's case was sound."
Weinstein dismissed the call to express his opinion on the implications of the recording. "It would've been better if this conversation had never happened, but the fact remains that it was a conversation between two friends."
Weinstein dismissed any connection between Mandelblit's past, the recording, and Netanyahu's cases.
"There isn't, and there cannot be, any connection between them. I'd be willing to take an essential stand that there is absolutely no substance to a claim like that. The state-attorney [Nitzan] didn't take advantage of the Attorney General [Mandelblit,] and the converse applies as well. This never happened; it's baseless. I have no doubt that the decisions that have been made are solid and based.
You can disagree with the decision, but not with its validity. There is not a shadow of a doubt that the decision was a professional one, one that was clear of ulterior motives, one that was based in logic and clarity.
"This should be clear, and there shouldn't be a reason to discuss this further. And yet there is," he continued. "This is a decision that was made be legal professionals, not just the State Attorney -- it is a sound legal decision."
Regarding claims that the prosecution is going out of its way to find grounds to convict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Weinstein commented: "I know the prosecution well. There's no invention of cases, not that I've seen, nor an agenda to do so within the Prosecution."
His advice?
"Stop using this baseless language. The prosecution can make mistakes, and if they do, the High Court will fix them. The prosecution can even, from time to time, make grimmer mistakes than others, but that's not inventing cases where they don't exist."
Weinstein then went on to criticize MK Miki Zohar's statements towards Mandelblit: "What he said should deeply disturb any decent man, and there are many decent people on all sides of the political spectrum. If these statements were nothing, were baseless -- and they aren't, and we should be taking their existence seriously -- I would go as far as to say that they could serve as a basis for a police investigation."
"But," he added, "I understand that he's since retracted what he said, and the PM disapproves of them, so for now, that's satisfactory."
A senior legal official gave his take on the Mandelblit-Nave recordings: "These statements aren't shocking, and don't implicate or imply anything. You know why? Because people are human, and in private conversations they are free to speak however they please."
They added that they could not weigh in on whether the Prosecution had it out for Netanyahu.
"What is absolutely clear is that what's important is that this matter gets investigated, maybe even set up an investigation committee, because just the fact that the Prosecution is getting accused of such a heinous thing is a serious claim unto itself.
"But," he added, "we don't actually have the proper tools to thoroughly investigate something like this. Statements borne from recordings like this are certainly not the proper tools. There is no connection between this and Netanyahu's cases."
"The automatic - Pavlovian, if you will -- divide between the defenders of the Prosecution, and its doubters and criticizers, who base their claims on Netanyahu's case, is not an accurate and sound divide. The only thing that's clearer now than it ever was is that more and more people within the system are unfairly and harshly criticizing broken procedures."
Another legal official noted that the consensus is that, "the criticism is far too great, and is directed at too many players within in the Prosecution: Liat Ben Ari [Deputy State Attorney], Shai Nitzan, and others. These criticisms should not have gone this far. "