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First day of PM pre-indictment hearing lasts over 10 hours

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s attorneys spent more than ten hours a hearing on the cases against the prime minister at the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem Wednesday.

In front of Netanyahu’s attorneys sat about 20 members of the Attorney General and the State Attorney’s Office, headed by Attorney Avichai Mandelblit, Attorney General Shai Nitzan, Attorney General Liat Ben Ari, Vice President Raz Nizri and Deputy Attorney General Shlomo Lamberger.

The prime minister’s spokesman said Wednesday that “the prime minister’s attorneys, who have prepared the answers to the hearing very thoroughly, continue to raise a long list of arguments supported by much evidence, some of which is new, which completely contradicts the allegations in writing.”

The hearing will last for four days, with defense attorneys aiming to prevent an indictment against the prime minister or at least cancel some of the expected indictments.

Today and tomorrow, the hearing deals with the “Bezeq-Walla” case (Case 4000), which is considered the most serious case against Netanyahu. Early next week, two other days will be spent on the other cases against Netanyahu.

Attorney Ram Caspi, an external adviser to the prime minister’s defense team, said before entering the hearing that Netanyahu did not plan to seek a plea bargain. “Knowing the State Attorney’s Office, I have no doubt that in the hearing, the State Attorney will formulate his recommendations in a professional and substantive manner, ignoring any noise in the background, the demonstrations and the media pressure. I attach great importance to the hearing.”

“Netanyahu does not even think about a plea bargain. Issues such as plea bargaining or pardon did not even come up in the internal talks,” Caspi said.

Netanyahu’s attorney, Adv. Amit Haddad, said: “We will present the evidence that everyone knows as well as new evidence, we are confident that when we finish presenting our evidence there will be no choice but to close the case.”