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Prosecutors ask court to deny Netanyahu’s request for more case materials

State Attorney’s Office says it provided evidence ‘even beyond’ what is legally required to PM, Shaul and Iris Elovitch, accuses defendants of trying to ‘widen the dispute’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with his lawyers in the courtroom, as his corruption trial opens at the Jerusalem District Court, May 24, 2020. (Ronen Zvulun/ Pool Photo via AP)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with his lawyers in the courtroom, as his corruption trial opens at the Jerusalem District Court, May 24, 2020. (Ronen Zvulun/ Pool Photo via AP)

Prosecutors trying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on criminal graft charges asked a court Wednesday to reject a request to turn over more investigative materials in the series of graft cases.

The taxation and economic crimes division in the State Attorney’s Office was responding to a request from attorneys for Netanyahu and Shaul and Iris Elovitch. Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of the Bezeq telecoms giant, and his wife were indicted in the most serious of the three cases Netanyahu faces charges in.

In their response to the Jerusalem District Court, prosecutors said they handed over all evidence to the defendants as legally required and “even beyond that.” While stressing their efforts to honor the defendants’ requests, prosecutors said they opposed transferring additional investigative materials.

“Despite this… [Netanyahu and the Elovitches] chose to widen the dispute,” a statement from the State Attorney’s Office said, arguing that it in some of the requests for additional investigative materials submitted by the defendants, it was “hard to understand the connection between them and the [legal] proceedings.”

Prosecutor Liat Ben-Ari (2nd-L) and Shaul Elovtich (2nd-R) at the Jerusalem District Court for a hearing in the criminal cases against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, July 19, 2020. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

Prosecutors accused the defendants of “various attempts” to expand the definition of investigative materials and charged their requests used “dramatic and broad descriptions” for investigators’ conduct.

“This includes [Netanyahu]’s] claim concerning ‘faulty and fundamentally flawed investigative moves’ and [the Elvotichs] regarding ‘aggressive investigative tricks,'” the statement said. “These claims… have no basis.”

Netanyahu and his allies have previously alleged misconduct by investigators in the questioning of witnesses, including the Elovitch’s son Or, who police reportedly tried to pressure his father into turning state’s witness against the prime minister.

Prosecutors have rejected the allegations.

Some critics have accused Netanyahu’s legal team of playing for time by making requests for more materials, or more time to study them.

The case both Netanyahu and the Elovitches face charges in, known as Case 4000, involves suspicions that the premier granted regulatory favors that financially benefited Shaul Elovitch in exchange for positive coverage from the Bezeq-owned Walla news site.

Netanyahu faces charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the case. Both the Elovitches face charges of bribery.

The prime minister also is charged with fraud and breach of trust in two other cases.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and he and his supporters allege a conspiracy by law enforcement and the media seeking to force him from power.

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