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Netanyahu denies agreeing to moral turpitude in plea bargain, says he’ll keep leading Likud

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement before entering a courtroom at the Jerusalem District Court on May 24, 2020, for the start of his corruption trial. Alongside him from left are Likud MKs and ministers including Amir Ohana, Miri Regev, Nir Barkat, Israel Katz, Tzachi Hanegbi and Yoav Gallant. (Yonathan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement before entering a courtroom at the Jerusalem District Court on May 24, 2020, for the start of his corruption trial. Alongside him from left are Likud MKs and ministers including Amir Ohana, Miri Regev, Nir Barkat, Israel Katz, Tzachi Hanegbi and Yoav Gallant. (Yonathan Sindel/Flash90)

Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has published a video in which he vows to remain leader of his Likud party, despite reports in recent weeks that he is in talks to sign a plea agreement that would bring an end to the criminal trial against him and mark his departure from politics in order to avoid prison time.

In his first direct reference to a possible plea bargain, he says he has not agreed to a “moral turpitude” clause that would bar him from political life for seven years.

Netanyahu reiterates his accusations that he is being mistreated by law enforcers and the justice system, and declares that “the entire public can see what is happening in the court house and how the investigation against me was handled.”

He insists that the proper course of action is to simply close the cases against him, “but that still hasn’t happened.”

“In recent days, there were mistaken claims made in the media on things that I allegedly agreed to, such as the claim that I agreed to ‘moral turpitude’. That is simply not correct.”

He also thanks those he claims are his “millions” of supporters, saying that they have given him and his family encouragement, and vows: “I will continue to lead the Likud and the nationalist camp in order to lead the state of Israel, on your behalf.”

While initial reports said that the sides were on the verge of a plea bargain agreement, talks are believed to have hit a wall more recently.

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