Netanyahu trial: Plea deal would need court mediation, Netanyahu to quit

Published date06 February 2022
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
As the lawyers return to court on Monday to continue hearing witnesses in the shadow of the scandal of police hacking cellphones of one or more Netanyahu associates, a plea deal is still possible in the coming weeks and months

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Direct court mediation would be needed to reduce the prosecution's view of the strength of its case and to solve trust issues that the Netanyahu team has that law enforcement could use a Netanyahu offer to damage him politically without actually letting a deal with no jail time go through.

From the prosecution's perspective, even an exit by Netanyahu from politics will be insufficient if he does not issue a public statement, confirming most of its narrative about his actions.

The prosecution has seen how it was lambasted by Shas Party leader Arye Deri after giving him a lenient plea deal that did not formally set how he could comment on the case in public. It is committed to not making the same error with Netanyahu.

Prosecutors are still on edge about where the cellphone-hacking scandal will take the case. But they are starting to prepare to dig in for a defensive line that no part of the indictment can actually be damaged by the affair.

The Jerusalem District Court on Friday gave the prosecution some breathing space on the cellphone-hacking scandal, ordering that witnesses proceed to testify as scheduled on Monday, despite the defense's demands that the scandal halt all testimony.

In addition, the court ordered the prosecution to provide an update on the scandal by Tuesday.

The Israel Police would be providing its findings to the prosecution by Monday morning, so the prosecution will have a day to review them before forwarding them to the defense, Channel 13 reported Sunday night.

The impression, however, was that the court will allow the next two witnesses to testify this week and only address the scandal before the testimony of former top aide turned state's witness Shlomo Filber.

Moreover, on Sunday, there were more reports that any hacking of Filber's phone might have taken place in 2018, months after a court had already given the police full access to his phone in 2017.

It was still unclear why the police would have decided to hack his phone after having had access to it months earlier.

But if the first stage of the scandal seemed to lead toward a monstrous expansion of illegal hacking by...

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