Israeli Court Rejects Netanyahu Request to Postpone Criminal Trial
The Jerusalem District Court has turned down a request filed by lawyers for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to delay his corruption trial, which is scheduled to get under way a week from today. The lawyers said they required more material from the prosecution regarding three cases, all involving charges of fraud and breach of trust, and one involving a charge of bribery. In rejecting the request, the lead judge said the March 17 opening session would be mostly procedural in nature, giving Netanyahu’s lawyers more time to prepare. The cases involve allegations that the caretaker prime minister received lavish gifts, including cigars as well as pink champagne for his wife, and sought to obtain more positive press coverage in return for favors, in one case by helping a media mogul avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in regulatory fees. Netanyahu is hoping to be tipped to form a governing coalition following last week’s election, during which his Likud party received the most votes, although opponents have begun legal and legislative efforts to prevent this, saying that someone under indictment cannot form and lead a government.