Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit vowed Thursday that his office would "work quickly" on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cases but "not at the expense of quality decisions and professionalism" and "would not be influenced by anything other than the evidence and the law."
Speaking at a conference sponsored by the economic newspaper Globes, Mandelblit urged the public not to believe leaks from the investigations that have been broadcast recently would continue to be published before his team makes its decisions.
"We aren't pursuing anyone, only truth and justice," he said.
Mandelblit spoke the morning after State’s Attorney Shai Nitzan revealed that there had been significant progress in Netanyahu’s cases and reports that the prosecution team under him had recommended to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to indict Netanyahu on bribery charges in two of the cases and fraud and breach of trust in another case.
The reports said Mandelblit would preliminarily indict Netanyahu in February or March, pending a hearing that would take place six months later.
Netanyahu's lawyer Amit Hadad said Thursday that the prime minister wouldl not accept a plea agreement, in which he would decline to run for reelection in return for easing the charges against him.
Speaking on Army Radio, Hadad vigorously denied reports in The Jerusalem Post and other media outlets that before his October 16 death, Netanyahu’s longtime family lawyer Jacob Weiroth had urged him to accept a plea deal to salvage his dignity.
“That is simply untrue,” Hadad said. “Yaakov thought with all his heart that Netanyahu is innocent. We are away light years away from an indictment. There cannot be and won’t be an indictment.”
Hadad downplayed the recommendations of the State’s Attorney’s Office and state police to indict Netanyahu, noting that in 2004, then-State’s Attorney Edna Arbel and the police recommended charges against then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon but then-Attorney General Menachem Mazuz closed the case against him.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said Thursday that if “the attorney general decides to indict Netanyahu after the hearing, he cannot continue to serve as prime minister.”
Coalition chairman David Amsalem disagreed, arguing that according to Israeli law does not require resignation at indictment stage and Netanyahu could remain prime minister after an indictment and while on trial.
Amsalem revealed that he would try to pass the controversial haredi (ultra-Orthodox) enlistment bill into law by the January 15 deadline set by the Supreme Court. He warned haredi parties that if they do not cooperate with the legislation, he would pass it with the support of the opposition Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beytenu parties.
"If we pass it with the opposition, it would show there is more consensus," Amsalem told Army Radio.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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