Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to resume his long-running trial on multiple corruption charges after an emergency order from the country’s justice minister paused the case due to the war in Gaza on October 7. The trial, which focuses on several corruption charges against Netanyahu, is scheduled to begin in a Jerusalem court on Monday.
The charges against Netanyahu include fraud, bribery, and breach of trust in three cases filed in 2019, known as Case 1000, 2000, and 4000. In Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife Sara are accused of receiving gifts, such as champagne and cigars, from prominent Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire businessman James Packer in exchange for political favors.
Bribery charges carry a sentence of up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine, while fraud and breach of trust carry a prison sentence of up to three years. Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing, claiming to be the victim of a politically orchestrated “witch-hunt” by rivals and the media to remove him from office.
The trial began in May 2020 and has been repeatedly delayed due to defense and prosecution disputes and the COVID-19 pandemic. Critics have accused Netanyahu of using legislation to try to circumvent his legal problems. Amid the prime minister’s controversial plans to overhaul the judicial system, Israel had been mired in months of protests ahead of the October 7 attacks.
Critics have argued that the proposed changes would politicize the judiciary, compromise its independence, foster corruption, and harm Israel’s economy. However, Netanyahu has defended the push, dismissing the protests and stating that he aims to restore a proper balance between the three branches of government.
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