On Emergency Footing over Coronavirus, Israeli Court Delays PM’s Trial
The Jerusalem court that will try Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of public trust in three separate corruption cases announced on Sunday that it was delaying the start of the trial from Tuesday until May 24. It cited a new government restriction on public assemblies due to the spread of coronavirus. Ordering the court system to follow these guidelines was interim Justice Minister Amir Ohana, a close Netanyahu ally who has been accused of making critical comments, as well as staffing and policy decisions, that could tip the outcome of the prime minister’s non-jury trial in his favor. Under the new guidelines, Israeli courts can convene only for urgent matters, such as arrest and administrative detention, as well a crucial relief in civil cases. Netanyahu stands accused of accepting lavish gifts for himself and his wife, and seeking better media coverage in return for favorable conditions to media moguls.