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Report: Top prosecution officials fumed over Mandelblit’s secret plea deal talks

Channel 13 reports that top state prosecution officials were not aware of the negotiations for a plea deal with Benjamin Netanyahu until yesterday.

The report says Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit held the talks secretly and only notified top figures tied to the case yesterday. Officials were outraged by the matter, it adds.

Some officials in the prosecution do not want to agree to close Case 2000 against the premier, the network says — closing the case has been reported as one of the offers under the proposed deal.

Channel 13 says prosecutors will only agree to a deal that includes an admission of moral turpitude and community service for Netanyahu. If his actions are found to have carried moral turpitude, it would mean Netanyahu would be barred from public life for seven years, likely ending the 72-year-old’s political career.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit attends a conference in Tel Aviv, on June 29, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

According to the network, Netanyahu started considering a plea deal after receiving a legal assessment that the testimony of key state’s witness Nir Hefetz’s recent testimony was effective for the prosecution’s case, and amid concerns that the upcoming testimony of another state’s witness, Shlomo Filber, could also be damaging.

Channel 12’s Guy Peleg notes that Netanyahu may not be interested in a plea deal at all, and may simply be trying to depict the cases publicly as weak, hence the prosecution’s readiness to compromise.

He also notes that courts are not a rubber stamp for plea bargains, and could feasibly reject one even if the sides agree to it.

Channel 13 also cites an unnamed senior official in the government saying that if a deal is signed, it will present “an immediate danger to the stability of the coalition.” This is because if Netanyahu departs politics as part of a plea deal, it will be much easier for the right to form a coalition with Likud.

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