Analysis: Ball is now in Mazuz's court

Attorney-general holds key to if, and when, Lieberman will be indicted.

mazuz 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
mazuz 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Now that the police have finally completed their investigation of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and submitted their recommendation to indict him, the two key questions that remain in this saga are when Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz will make his decision and what it will be. Obviously the state prosecution cannot say in advance when it will decide whether or not to indict Lieberman. As the Justice Ministry spokesman said, the prosecution team from the Economic Section of the State Attorney's Office, which will study the evidence, may decide that more work has to be done on one matter or another related to the case before it can make its recommendation. This is not something that can be predicted in advance, even though a number of prosecutors from the Economic Section took part in the police investigation and advised them, from the perspective of trial requirements, what elements of the investigation were lacking or needed to be strengthened. Not only that, but every so often, the police investigating team, together with the head of the Investigation and Intelligence units, met with Mazuz and State Attorney Moshe Lador to discuss the progress being made in the case. For what it's worth, the state is currently responding to a High Court petition filed by Lieberman last year demanding that it either indict him or close the case. On Sunday, the state informed the court of the latest development and proposed that it either reject or suspend the petition, or allow the state to submit an update in three months. In theory, that could mean that the state hopes to complete its investigation by then. But, of course, it is not committing itself to do so. All it has promised so far is that Mazuz's decision on the file will be made "as soon as possible." The next question is what decision Mazuz will make. That of course, is anyone's guess. If recent precedent is of any value, it should be noted that former prime minister Ehud Olmert was investigated by police in six different affairs. The police recommended closing two of the files and indicting Olmert on four others. In the end, Mazuz (and in one case Lador), did exactly that. In all of these cases, an attorney from the state prosecution participated in the police investigation and Mazuz (except for the Bank Leumi investigation) and Lador were kept abreast of the investigations as they proceeded. As in the Olmert investigations, the prosecution helped shape the Lieberman investigation in real time to meet the requirements of a criminal trial. Unless there were sharp disagreements between the attorneys and the police, which is unlikely, it is very possible that the prosecution is satisfied with the police investigation and its recommendation.