The State Prosecutor’s Office agreed Monday to a one-day postponement of a plea bargain that would see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, pay a fine and avoid jail time in the so-called catering case.
Although a deal had been reached, Sara Netanyahu’s attorney, Yossi Cohen, was granted an extra 24-hours to propose last-minute amendments.
Cohen had petitioned the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court in Jerusalem, saying Netanyahu’s legal team “needs a brief extension of one day to clarify and sharpen her positions regarding the emerging plea bargain.”
Under the terms of the deal, reached two weeks ago, Netanyahu would escape a fraud conviction, but admit to a lesser charge and pay NIS 55,000 ($15,210) to the state. Last year, she and Ezra Saidoff, a former caretaker at the Prime Minister’s Residence, were charged with fraud and breach of trust for spending $100,000 of state funds on catered meals, while there was a full-time chef on staff.
The residence is not permitted to order prepared food if a chef is present. The two allegedly misrepresented the chef’s presence between September 2010 and March 2013, in order to claim state funds to order meals.
Sara Netanyahu’s trial is separate from her husband’s legal woes, which revolve around suspicions that the prime minister accepted illicit gifts, took bribes, and tried to arrange favors for media barons in exchange for positive press coverage.
Sara Netanyahu was a suspect in one of those cases, but prosecutors did not recommend that she face charges.