After a month-long break, the trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Jerusalem District Court resumed on Monday.
Netanyahu is accused of fraud, betrayal of trust, and taking kickbacks. 13 years are the overall punishment for these offenses.
But there are discussions taking place in secret about entering a plea deal.
The session was held amid criticism expressed by the judges who are leading this trial at a slow pace and had decided to go on a vacation. The court’s secretariat announced that the judges are attempting to reduce the number of witnesses and have convinced the lawyers in the defense and prosecution of this.
Experts estimated that the trial would last for two years if the pace of holding the sessions remains as it is now.
They added that if Netanyahu managed to stay in power then he would seek to pass new laws that jeopardize the court’s capacities and possibly halt the trial.
The trial began in 2020 at the Jerusalem District Court which holds three sessions weekly. Five delays have occurred so far due to feeble technical reasons imposed by lawyers or judges.
The indictment mentions three cases known as Case 1000, Case 2000, and Case 4000.
Case 1000 saw Netanyahu charged with fraud and breach of trust after being accused along with his wife of receiving gifts worth approximately 700,000 Israeli shekel (around $200,000) from Israeli-born film producer Arnon Milchan and Australian businessman James Packer.
In Case 2000, he is accused of attempting to make a deal with Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes for softer coverage of him in exchange for legislation to curb the reach of rival daily Israel Hayom.
Case 4000 alleges that Netanyahu granted regulatory favors worth around 1.8 billion shekels (about $500 million) to Israeli telecommunications company Bezeq Telecom Israel.
In return, prosecutors say, he sought positive coverage of himself and his wife on the Walla news website controlled by the company’s former chairman, Shaul Elovitch.
In this case, Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. Elovitch and his wife, Iris, have been charged with bribery and obstruction of justice. The couple deny wrongdoing.
Netanyahu denies all allegations against him and says that he is a victim of a political conspiracy. “Receiving gifts from friends is not forbidden,” according to Netanyahu.