Netanyahu Bribery Trial Heads Into High Gear, TV Says

Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial will go into high gear in January, with prosecutors presenting evidence against the beleaguered Israeli prime minister three times a week, Channel 12 reported.

The Jerusalem District Court mapped out the timetable at the first session of the trial since it formally opened with the reading of the charges in late May. Netanyahu, who is facing unprecedented discontent with his rule over the corruption charges and his government’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis, didn’t appear before the bench on Sunday.

His lawyer asked to delay the trial because of the coronavirus, arguing that witnesses can’t be properly questioned if they are wearing masks. The presiding judge, Rivka Friedman-Feldman, assured him that it is possible to conduct questioning under those circumstances, and asked if the attorney was suggesting that the courts be shut down.

She also expressed concern about the stability of the prime minister’s defense team, because attorneys have been coming and going, and different lawyers are handling the three separate cases against him.

Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The prime minister, who has yet to take the stand, has repeatedly said he is innocent of any wrongdoing. According to Channel 12, the court will first hear the most serious case against him, in which he is accused of granting a media mogul regulatory favors in exchange for sympathetic coverage.

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