Hearings in Netanyahu corruption trial to be held four days a week from February

In light of war, hearings were reduced from three times a week to two when trial resumed in early December; prosecution expects to finish presenting Case 4000 arguments in January

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives at the Jerusalem District Court to listen to video testimony from businessman Arnon Milchan in the prime minister's corruption trial, June 26, 2023. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives at the Jerusalem District Court to listen to video testimony from businessman Arnon Milchan in the prime minister's corruption trial, June 26, 2023. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

Hearings in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial will be held four times a week starting in February, up from the current two, the court announced on Monday.

The prosecution in Case 4000, which is currently being heard in court, is expected to be finished presenting its case by January. The case involves allegations that Netanyahu handed the Shaul Elovitch-owned Bezeq telecom giant regulatory benefits in exchange for being allowed editorial intervention in the Walla news outlet, also owned by Elovitch. Netanyahu is charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in the case.

The court will then proceed with hearing testimony in Case 1000, which concerns gifts the prime minister allegedly inappropriately received from billionaire benefactors, and Case 2000, in which he allegedly negotiated to obtain positive media coverage in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper in exchange for curtailing its competitors. In both cases, Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust.

Until court activities were suspended due to the deadly October 7 Hamas assault on southern Israel, three hearings were conducted per week, but when the trial resumed in early December, the court acceded to a defense request that hearings be held only twice a week.

The request was put forward by Netanyahu’s lawyer Amit Hadad, who cited the premier’s lack of availability to prepare for the testimonies of new key witnesses in light of the ongoing war against Hamas.

Netanyahu has consistently denied any wrongdoing and has claimed that the charges were fabricated in a witch hunt led by the police and state prosecution.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s defense attorney, Amit Hadad, arrives at a court hearing in his ongoing corruption trial at the Jerusalem District Court, July 19, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

He refused to step down when the indictments were filed, arguing that he was capable of standing trial while also leading the country.

The trial has faced criticism over the slow pace of proceedings.

It began three years ago and, as things stand, the proceedings, including potential appeals, have been seen as unlikely to end before 2028-2029. In late June, it was reported that the judges consider the bribery charge against the premier difficult to prove, and that they had convened with state prosecutors and Netanyahu’s defense team to discuss the possibility of a plea bargain.

Jeremy Sharon and Michael Bachner contributed to this report.

Most Popular
read more: