Netanyahu’s lawyers seek monthlong delay of hearing responding to indictment

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asking the Jerusalem District Court to delay a hearing scheduled for next week in his corruption trial.

The hearing was set to focus on Netanyahu’s response to the criminal indictment against him. But the prime minister’s defense team is now seeking more time to respond to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s acknowledgment that he had authorized the criminal probes against the premier, but not in writing.

Netanyahu’s lawyers argue the lack of written consent undermines the entire case and has called for the charges to be canceled. The attorney general, however, said there was no legal requirement for the authorization to be in written form.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a televised statement at the Knesset in Jerusalem on December 22, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The lawyers are asking for a month postponement, Hebrew media reports say.

According to Channel 13, Netanyahu is weighing using this time — and the claim the police investigations went ahead without the attorney general’s okay — to seek parliamentary immunity.

Shaul and Iris Elovitch, key suspects in one of the bribery cases involving the premier, have also asked for a delay, the Kan public broadcaster reports. They say four of their lawyers are in quarantine from the virus, and cite other procedural issues in their request.