Hanegbi acquitted on 3 charges

Kadima MK found guilty on charge of perjury by J'lem court.

Hanegbi 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hanegbi 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Kadima MK Tzahi Hanegbi was found guilty on the charge of perjury on Tuesday in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.
The court found in a 2-1 decision that Hanegbi broke the law when he provided testimony on the 69 political appointments he made between March 2001 and February 2003, while serving as environment minister in the Sharon government.
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The court, however, found him innocent on all other charges, including fraud and breach of trust, election bribery and trying to illegally influence voters.
Hanegbi could serve up to seven years in prison on the perjury and false oath charges.
He was charged with fraud, breach of trust, election bribery, attempts to influence those with the power to vote, perjury and making a false oath.
Hanegbi will now have to wait until September or October for his sentencing and for the key decision about whether his crime of perjury involved moral turpitude, which would force him to leave the Knesset, where he has served since 1988.
Legal experts said on Monday that the moral turpitude question would already be clear in Tuesday’s ruling. They said that a conviction for perjury would likely be deemed as tainted with moral turpitude.
If Hanegbi is forced to leave the Knesset, he would be replaced by the next name on the Kadima candidates list, Georgian-born journalist Nino Absadze.
Should Kadima MK Eli Aflalo leave the Knesset before the ruling on Hanegbi’s moral turpitude, to become KKL/JNF cochairman, the next name after Absadze is party activist Avner Barzani, who died recently. That means that if both Hanegbi and Aflalo left the Knesset, academic and former Sayeret Matkal commander Doron Avital would become an MK.
A Kadima lawmaker expressed optimism on Monday that Hanegbi would be cleared and would win a race for the party’s leadership within a year. But sources close to Hanegbi said he did not intend to challenge current Kadima leader Tzipi Livni.
Dan Izenberg and Mark Rebacz contributed to this report.