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Israels Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit (R) during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.(Photo by: MENAHEM KAHANA / REUTERS)
Netanyahu lawyers meet Mandelblit, say ensuring PM gets 'fair shake'
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
01/21/2019
Mandelblit said he will inform Netanyahu's legal team soon about whether he will announce his initial decision regarding the prime minister's corruption cases before or after the elections.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's team of lawyers, accompanied by two retired senior judges, met with Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to discuss the corruption investigations into the prime minister.

Netanyahu's team, comprised of lawyers Navot Tel Tzur, Amit Hadad and Tal Shapira, and retired judges Oded Mudrik and Sefi Alon. they "are working to ensure that the prime minister, who is facing elections, receives a fair shake," according to a statement.

 
"A letter was submitted to the Attorney-General and signed by retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, who also supports our decision," they continued.

The Jerusalem Post reported earlier on Monday that Mandelblit will inform Netanyahu's legal team in the coming days about whether he will announce his initial decision regarding the prime minister's public corruption cases before or after the April 9 elections.

In a statement to the media after an unusual meeting between Mandelblit and Netanyahu's legal team, the Justice Ministry said that Mandelblit had listened carefully to their arguments about why the decision should be delayed until after the election.

Last Thursday, Mandelblit had already appeared to turn down a direct plea by Netanyahu's lawyers to delay his decision, but he did agree to meet with them.

Indications were that he agreed to meet with them to show respect to the prime minister, but not that he was seriously reconsidering the timing of his decision.

Mandelblit issued a public letter late Thursday following an unusual public letter requesting the delay by Netanyahu’s lawyers on Wednesday.

Although Mandelblit did not and has not formally committed to announcing his decision in the public corruption cases against the prime minister prior to the election, all indications are that he will announce his decision before the evening of February 21. That is the date when all political party lists are expected to be finalized.

Mandelblit’s letter noted that his staff started their final deliberations before Netanyahu called for early elections and that their work would continue uninterrupted.

The attorney-general is expected to announce his intention to indict Netanyahu for bribery in Case 4000 (the Bezeq-Walla! Affair) and breach of public trust in Case 1000 (the Illegal Gifts Affair), but it is still unclear what his decision will be in Case 2000 (the Yediot Aharonot-Israel Hayom Affair).

Netanyahu's full legal team were part of the meeting, including: Navot Tel Tzur, Oded Mudrick, Amit Hadad and Tal Shapira.

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