Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes is expected to sign a plea deal with prosecutors for his involvement in one of the criminal cases against opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a Saturday television report.
Channel 12 news reported that under the emerging deal, Mozes will admit to attempted bribery, but alongside the confession, it will be stated that he did not seriously intend to follow through with it.
There were no immediate details on what the sentence would be under such a deal.
According to the network, a plea deal with Mozes would harm Netanyahu’s legal situation, if the former premier does not sign a plea deal himself. However, recent reports indicate Netanyahu is close to signing such a deal, with a holdup due to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s demand that he agree to have his actions be designated as carrying “moral turpitude” — legally barring him from public service for seven years. One report Saturday night suggested a compromise on this sticking point might be close.
In Case 2000, Netanyahu is accused of attempting to reach a quid pro quo with Mozes for positive media coverage in exchange for legislation weakening rival newspaper Israel Hayom. Mozes was charged with bribery while Netanyahu has been charged with fraud and breach of trust in the case.
According to the indictment, Netanyahu and Mozes “recognized that the one had the ability to promote the other’s interest” in the run-up to the 2015 elections and discussed such possibilities.
Although he never concluded the deal, and thus was not charged with bribery in the case, the charges against Netanyahu said he strung Mozes along to try to secure beneficial coverage ahead of the then-imminent elections.
Netanyahu’s trial involves two other cases against him. In Case 1000, in which the premier is accused of accepting over NIS 700,000 ($200,000) in illicit gifts from the billionaires Arnon Milchan and James Packer, Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust.
In Case 4000, regarded as the most serious of the three, Netanyahu was charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. In that case, the premier is accused of granting regulatory favors to Shaul and Iris Elovitch, who controlled the Bezeq telecommunications firm, in exchange for positive media coverage in the Bezeq-owned news outlet, Walla — an arrangement that prosecutors have deemed also an illegal quid pro quo.