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Court pauses Netanyahu trial to mull police spying ramifications

Reversing its earlier position, Jerusalem’s District Court has announced that it will delay the ongoing trial of opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu to get answers about swirling police phone spying allegations.

The court gives the prosecution until 2 p.m. Tuesday to respond to questions regarding the illicit phone spying, and judges will convene on Wednesday to discuss how to proceed, the court says.

The court earlier rejected a request from Netanyahu’s lawyers to delay the case over allegations the Israel Police used the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware to hack into the phones of a wide range of public figures — including associates and family members of Netanyahu as well as multiple people currently involved in the trial — without any judicial oversight or approval.

Supporters of Benjamin Netanyahu call for his trial to be ended and an investigation opened at the District Court in Jerusalem, February 7, 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

According to the report, which was unsourced, police hacked the phones of, among others, former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua; former Communications Ministry directors general Shlomo Filber and Avi Berger; Iris Elovitch, the wife of Shaul Elovitch, the former controlling shareholder of Bezeq, who are both defendants in Case 4000; former Bezeq CEOs Dudu Mizrachi and Stella Hendler; former Walla editor-in-chief Aviram Elad, and other journalists at Walla.

In Case 4000, one of the three graft cases for which the former prime minister is on trial, Netanyahu is alleged to have advanced regulatory decisions as communications minister and prime minister that immensely benefited Elovitch, in exchange for editorial control over the Walla news site. Netanyahu denies the charges against him.

 

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