Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has consulted with leading judicial officers, including former Supreme Court judges and former Attorneys General, on whether there are legal obstacles to his announcement of pre-indictment for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in three graft cases before the coming April elections, Hadashot reported television news Tuesday.
According to the television report, the Attorney General has ruled out the closure of the cases and is likely to bring charges against the prime minister in corruption cases, subject to a hearing. Such a movement would send out a strong signal that is likely to follow a charge, which would block Netanyahu's determination to lead his Likud party in the April 9 elections.
In response to Hadashot's news item, the Prime Minister's legal team said that such a decision would be a 'battle for the democratic process & # 39; would be because the hearing would not be completed by the time elections are held, creating an unfair cloud over Netanyahu.
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During a meeting with officials last week in a hotel outside of Jerusalem, Mandelblit reportedly said: "Announcing a [hearing] decision for elections is our duty to the public that goes to the polls. I will do my utmost to finish the work as soon as possible. "
Those who participated were former presidents of the Supreme Court Aharon Barak, Dorit Beinisch and Meir Shamgar; Deputy Supreme Court Elyakim Rubinstein; former public prosecutors Edna Arbel, Moshe Lador and Gabriel Bach; and former attorney generals Jehoeda Weinstein and Yitzhak Zamir.
He specifically asked those present whether they believed that there was a legal obstacle preventing an announcement before the election. All those present believed that a decision on a hearing should be taken and announced before the elections, according to the report.
There was unanimous agreement with Mandelblit to publish a hearing up to a month before the elections, the report said.
Netanyahu's legal team insisted that a hearing would clear up the Netanyahu name, but because there is not enough time to complete the pre-election process, it should not even begin.
"We believe that there will be none [pre-indictment] hear because nothing [untoward] happened, "Netanyahu lawyers said in a statement to journalists.
"It is undemocratic to hold a hearing before the elections when it can only be concluded after the elections It is inconceivable that the public will only hear one side and not the other," they argued and claimed that many things a hearing was closed.
"Speaking a hearing during the election campaign without letting the other party react would therefore be a distortion of the will of the voter and a serious blow to the democratic process," they said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Channel 10 reported television news to senior judicial officers who said that Netanyahu will not be legally obliged to resign if Mandelblit announces that he will be indicted while awaiting a hearing, but there will be a "problem" if he refuses to give up. steps when he is finally charged.
The unnamed officers responded Monday to Netanyahu that he would not resign if the Attorney General decides to lodge charges against him, pending a hearing, before the elections.
Channel 10 TV quoted legal sources because the hearing would last for about a year and there would be no legal problems if Netanyahu chose to continue serving as prime minister during that time.
Asked during a press conference in Brazil, where he was on an official visit, how he would continue if he was summoned by the Attorney General for a hearing, Netanyahu said Monday: "If that happens, I will not resign."
The claim that the Attorney General must hear a suspect before a final decision to lodge charges against him, Netanyahu argued, exists in exactly the same way that the accused can tell his side of the story. "The hearing does not end until my side is heard," he said.
The law does not clearly state that a premier who has been charged must resign. Rather, it says that he should only step down after being convicted of a crime that has moral damnation, such as bribery or breach of trust, and the appeal process is exhausted.
The Knesset can ask the prime minister to resign before that process is completed, but if that is not the case, he can theoretically remain in office.
The announcement last week that elections will be held in April – seven months earlier than planned – came when Mandelblit began reviewing criminal cases against Netanyahu, marking the stage with the highest deployment of a legal entanglement of several years the political system of the country could revive.
The police have advised netanyahu to be charged against him in each of the three probes.