Former Netanyahu aide testifies in ex-PM’s corruption trial

Jerusalem, Nov 22 (AP) A one-time confidante to Benjamin Netanyahu started testifying towards him Monday within the former Israeli prime minister’s corruption trial in Jerusalem.

Nir Hefetz, a former spokesman for Netanyahu, is a key prosecution witness anticipated to ship crucial testimony within the trial, which revolves round accusations that Netanyahu dedicated fraud, breach of belief and accepted bribes. The former premier, now opposition chief, denies any wrongdoing.

Hefetz left an extended profession in journalism in 2009 to work as a spokesman for Netanyahu’s authorities, and in 2014 grew to become the Netanyahu household’s spokesman and adviser. In 2018, after he was arrested in reference to one in all Netanyahu’s corruption circumstances, Hefetz signed a state’s witness deal and supplied investigators with recordings of conversations with Netanyahu and his household.

His testimony was delayed by every week after Netanyahu’s defence attorneys requested time to evaluate new proof. The data offered final week alleged that Netanyahu’s spouse, Sara, had accepted an costly bracelet as a present from two billionaire buddies, Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.

Netanyahu appeared within the Jerusalem District Court Monday morning flanked by fellow Likud social gathering politicians.

He’s the defendant in three separate circumstances. The first alleges that Netanyahu obtained items value lots of of 1000’s of {dollars} from rich buddies, together with Milchan and Packer.

In the second case, Netanyahu is accused of orchestrating constructive protection in a significant Israeli paper in alternate for selling laws that might have harmed the information outlet’s chief rival, a free pro-Netanyahu every day.

The third, nicknamed Case 4000, alleges that Netanyahu promoted laws value lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to the proprietor of Israeli telecom large Bezeq in alternate for constructive protection on its Walla information web site.

In his opening testimony, Hefetz mentioned that Netanyahu was a “management freak” in terms of his public picture, and that “his management over every part regarding media issues and in his social media channels couldn’t be increased”.

The former prime minister lengthy rejected calls to step down from the nation’s management after he was indicted in 2019. He used the rostrum as prime minister to repeatedly lash out at legislation enforcement, the media and the courts for launching a “witch-hunt” towards him.

His trial formally started in 2020, whereas the nation was embroiled in a two-year-long political disaster that noticed 4 repeated elections, with voters deadlocked over Netanyahu’s management and indictment. The trial is anticipated to take years.

Earlier this 12 months, Netanyahu and his long-ruling Likud social gathering had been ousted from energy after a coalition united of their opposition to the long-serving prime minister shaped a authorities. (AP) SCY SCY

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