AG heard cursing out state attorney for failing to close case against him

In taped phone conversations from 2016, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit can be heard tearing into Shai Nitzan, the state attorney at the time, exposing a deep rift at the top of the state prosecution as it seeks to litigate the corruption cases against Prime Minister Netanyahu.

In the conversations, which took place between Mandelblit and the then-head of the Israel Bar Association, Efi Naveh and were aired by Channel 12 this evening, the attorney general railed at Nitzan for failing to clear him of wrongdoing in a case known as the Harpaz affair.

The attorney general was cleared by the Supreme Court over his involvement in the affair for lack of evidence, but it was up to Nitzan and law enforcement to declare him innocent and close the case against him.

“Do you understand that that maniac isn’t making a decision on my case?” Mandelblit can be heart telling Naveh of Nitzan, who has since retired. “He… I don’t know what to do with him.”

(In Hebrew, the word “maniac” has similar connotations to “asshole” in English.)

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, left, and then-State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)

Mandelblit adds, “He’s doing it to me on purpose. I don’t know what to do.”

He then says, “It’s possible he wants to have me by the throat. I don’t know. I don’t know what he’s thinking. In the end I’ll lose it and make a big stink over this.”

In July a state prosecution ombudsman criticized Nitzan for his failure to clear Mandelblit, saying police and prosecutors had displayed “improper conduct” in their failure to declare that the case was closed due to an absence of guilt.

Justice David Rozen said Nitzan had not acted with the required transparency in the case, despite Mandelblit’s request to officially mark the reason for the closing of the probe into the affair a decade ago.

The open case against Mandelblit has been used as ammunition against him by associates of Netanyahu who have sought to discredit the state prosecution.

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