Netanyahu pre-indictment hearing delayed until after elections

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media in Ramat Gan, Israel on Feb. 21.Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prosecutors in the corruption cases against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be able to get their hands on the investigation files until after the country’s election on April 9 over fears of leaks to the media.

The Justice Ministry made the announcement on Monday evening, responding to a request from Netanyahu’s attorneys.

The prosecutors and the attorneys for the prime minister will be given three months to review the materials before a pre-indictment hearing in which Netanyahu can present his argument for dropping the case.

This means that the hearing will be held on or shortly after July 10.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced late last month that pending the hearing he plans to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases— the first time a sitting prime minister will face criminal charges.

Netanyahu has denied all the charges and called the investigations a “witch hunt” by the political left and the media.