'Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reluctantly agreed to attend an October pre-indictment hearing which will decide his fate in three corruption cases.
Facing today’s deadline by which he must inform Israel’s Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, whether he will attend the hearing, Netanyahu’s lawyer Amit Hadad announced that “we will come to the hearing, but it would have been right to reconsider the date and delay it”.
In a video posted online, Hadad stressed that “we believe there are significant arguments justifying postponing the [hearing] date” and complained of “dozens of missing documents” in the case files provided to him.
The case files were made available on 10 April, one day after Israel’s general election, as requested by Netanyahu in a bid to prevent leaks to the media. The prime minister’s legal team, however, refused to collect the evidence for weeks. This was seen as an attempt to delay proceedings while Netanyahu raced to form a ruling coalition, a task in which he ultimately failed.
Netanyahu is now slated to appear in court on 2 and 3 October.
Netanyahu is, however, expected to petition the Supreme Court to delay the hearing, after Mandelblit last week rejected yet another request to do so. Netanyahu and his team had argued that, in light of the fact that Israel will now hold fresh elections on 17 September proceedings should be delayed, a claim which Mandelblit rejected.
One of Mandelblit’s top advisors, Gil Limon, wrote in a letter to Netanyahu’s lawyers that “the dissolution of the Knesset and the holding of new elections can’t in and of themselves constitute a consideration that justifies delaying the hearing date in the investigations concerning the prime minister”.
Limon reportedly also emphasised that, by October, Netanyahu’s legal team will have had six months to prepare for the hearing, given that the case files were made available for collection on 10 April.'
Read more: Netanyahu will attend October pre-indictment hearing
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