The second hearing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial was held on Sunday.
During the hearing, Jerusalem District Court Judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman ruled on the order of the cases of the trial—on fraud, bribery and breach of trust—the evidentiary phase of which will begin in January, with witnesses taking the stand three times a week.
Netanyahu attorney Yossi Segev requested that the trial be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that it would be difficult to read the expressions of witnesses wearing masks. His request was denied.
According to Israel Hayom, Lead prosecutor Liat Ben Ari asked the court to hear evidence in Case 4,000, followed by Case 2,000 and finally Case 1,000.
Case 4,000 involves an alleged deal between Netanyahu and Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Bezeq, according to which the prime minister would receive positive coverage in the Walla news site, which Bezeq owns, in exchange for tilting government regulations in the telecom giant’s favor.
Case 2,000 focuses on an alleged deal that Netanyahu tried to strike with Yediot Achronot publisher Arnon Mozes to receive favorable coverage in Israel’s widely circulated daily paper, in exchange for Netanyahu’s orchestrating the reduction in circulation of its greatest competitor, Israel Hayom, owned by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.
Case 1,000, which centers on gifts Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, allegedly received from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.
Netanyahu, who denies wrongdoing in all three cases, was not in attendance at Sunday’s procedural hearing, but Friedman-Feldman ruled that he must be present at every hearing when the trial resumes in earnest in January.