Weekly hearings in the corruption trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyer will go down to two per week instead of the current three, after the court acceded to a request by the premier’s lawyer who cited the leader’s lack of availability to prepare for the testimonies of new key witnesses in light of the ongoing war against Hamas.
Tomorrow’s planned hearing has therefore been canceled.
Attorneys for fellow Case 4000 defendant Shaul Elovitch requested yesterday that hearings be held in that case on two days per week, down from three, to accommodate for legal staff called up for reserve duty amid the war.
In response, the Jerusalem District Court suggested yesterday reducing the Case 4000 hearings to two per week alongside holding one weekly hearing on Cases 1000 and 2000, on which testimonies are currently due to start being heard next month.
But Netanyahu attorney Amit Hadad wrote that he objects to this since it would mean questioning new key witnesses, and the prime minister doesn’t have time to prepare for this.
“A significant portion” of witnesses set to be heard in those cases “are significant witnesses, whose testimony requires preparation in coordination and together with the prime minister,” Hadad wrote.
“In the current situation, in the middle of the Swords of Iron war, there is no possibility of having the necessary contact with the prime minister to prepare for the questioning of the expected witnesses,” he added in his request, which has now been accepted.
Netanyahu denies wrongdoing and claims that the charges were fabricated in a witch hunt led by the police and state prosecution.
He refused to step down when the indictments were filed, arguing that he is capable of standing trial while also leading the country.
The trial has been ongoing for over 3.5 years, and has faced criticism over the slow pace of proceedings.