An attorney who has represented a senior aide of former prime minister Ehud Olmert and the son of former premier Ariel Sharon is set to join Benjamin Netanyahu’s defense team, according to a television report on Tuesday.
Channel 12 said Micha Fettman would join Amit Hadad in representing the incumbent premier in his upcoming corruption trial, which begins May 24.
The television report said it was unclear if another of Netanyahu’s attorneys, Yossi Ashkenazi, would be staying on the team.
Netanyahu is accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three respective cases. He denies any wrongdoing. His trial will be the first for a serving prime minister, with Olmert — the first prime minister to land in jail — resigning before being indicted on criminal charges.
The trial was originally set to begin on March 17 but was delayed by some two months as courts largely shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fettman represented Olmert’s former bureau chief Shula Zaken, until she turned state’s witness against her former boss. Zaken was freed from prison in 2015 after seven months. Olmert went on to spend 16 months in prison on graft charges.
Fettman was also formerly the attorney for Gilad Sharon, who was allegedly involved in the so-called Greek island corruption case, in which businessman David Appel was suspected of paying him a very high salary as a form of bribery intended for his father. The case was closed due to lack of evidence in 2004.
Sharon had also been suspected of brokering the transfer of millions of dollars from Cyril Kern, a British-born, South Africa-based businessman, and transferring them to his father. That case was closed by the prosecution in 2013.
According to Channel 12, Fettman has served as counsel for businessman Ze’ev Rubinstein, who has also been implicated in the so-called Case 4000, or Bezeq case, for which Netanyahu faces a bribery charge, in addition to other corruption charges. It remains unclear whether Rubinstein will stand trial.