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Prosecutors in Netanyahu case: 1 witness was spied on, but trial shouldn’t halt

Shlomo Filber, then director general of the Communications Ministry, during a court hearing in the Supreme Court regarding the closing of the Israel Broadcasting Authorities, May 15, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Shlomo Filber, then director general of the Communications Ministry, during a court hearing in the Supreme Court regarding the closing of the Israel Broadcasting Authorities, May 15, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prosecutors in the corruption trial of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu tell the court that spyware was used to hack the phone of just one witness in the case, but that no material discovered was used and the case should continue as scheduled.

State prosecutors tell the Jerusalem District Court that the only person connected to the case who was spied on with the NSO Group’s Pegasus software was Shlomo Filber, the former director of the Communications Ministry and a key witness. Prosecutors claim that the spyware was activated on his phone for around a day but that no material relevant to the case was discovered.

Prosecutors say that the phone of Iris Elovitch, the wife of former Bezeq controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch, was targeted, but unsuccessfully.

Reports have swirled over the past two weeks that the Israel Police used spyware without judicial approval to target many public officials and activists, including figures central to Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial. Supporters of Netanyahu have pointed to the allegations as a reason to toss out the case against it.

This week’s scheduled sessions in the trial were postponed amid the controversy, to allow for state prosecutors to complete an investigation into the claims.

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