In the worst case, Netanyahu is accused of advancing over 1 billion shekels (over $ 283 million) of regulatory benefits to a telecommunications company controlled by a millionaire friend, prosecutors say. In return, Netanyahu received favorable coverage from a news site, even influencing the wording and selection of the story, prosecutors say.
Sunday’s works were completed in less than an hour, as they were mainly procedural.
“I read the accusation and understood its contents,” Netanyahu told the court.
He did not make a request, but repeatedly proclaimed his innocence.
Before taking his place in the courtroom, he made a statement with the older members of his Likud party standing behind him.
He described his accusations as a “recovery”, an effort by the Israeli liberal and media elites to overthrow him and his right-wing bloc.
The media were just trying to film him sitting on the bench in court, Netanyahu said, adding that he would ask the court to broadcast the entire trial live.
“I am here as your Prime Minister, with a straight and proud back,” he said to those looking at home. “When the public is exposed to the whole truth, the cases will crumble.”
Participants in the district court room wore masks, even while speaking. When the three judges entered, Netanyahu remained standing. He only sat down after a cameraman was brought out of the room, according to a previous agreement on judicial procedures.
In discussions on the calendar, defense attorney Micha Fetman said that he was new to the team and that he needed time to read all the material, which prosecutor Liat Ben-Ari Shweky said would take about three months.
Fetman asked all the defendants – Netanyahu, along with two businessmen and one of the wives of the businessmen – to be excused from attending all the court sessions, especially the procedural hearings, and the accusation was not is opposite to the transfer.
The proceedings were suspended until July 19, although months may pass before the prosecution is opened.
According to Israeli law, Netanyahu must not resign because of the accusation. Instead, he only has to resign if he is convicted and that belief is confirmed through the appeal procedure.
In a tweet sent as the judicial session was about to end, Netanyahu’s main ally, Benny Gantz, wrote that Netanyahu was innocent until he pleaded guilty and expressed the confidence that the legal system would provide the Prime Minister with. fair trial.
Gantz, Israel’s new alternate prime minister, had previously campaigned in three elections on a platform never to sit in the same government as an accused prime minister.
“I would like to reiterate that my colleagues and I have full confidence in our legal system and law enforcement. Now, perhaps more than ever, we must move towards unity and conciliation, as a country and as a society, for the State of Israel and all its citizens, “tweeted Gantz on Sunday.
CNN’s Oren Liebermann and Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed to this report.
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