Jerusalem24 -The Jerusalem District Court has set Monday, April 5, the date for the start of hearing witnesses during the trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges, according to several Hebrew media outlets.
Netanyahu, the first prime minister to be indicted while in office, is facing charges of accepting luxury gifts and seeking to provide regulatory facilities to influential media outlets in exchange for positive media coverage.
In a brief session on February 8, during which he appeared before a Jerusalem court, Netanyahu denied the corruption charges against him, and his defense lawyer accused the Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, whom Netanyahu had appointed, of mishandling the file.
On Monday, the court announced that it would hold three sessions a week, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, without specifying the total length of the sessions.
Among the charges against Netanyahu are obtaining personal benefits by receiving gifts worth 700,000 shekels ($ 213,000) from Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, and 250,000 shekels ($ 72,000) from Australian billionaire James Packer.
He is also accused of seeking friendly media coverage in Israel’s best-selling daily, Yediot Aharonot.
and the Hebrew news site “Walla” of the “Bezek Group”, owned by Shaul Elovitch, in exchange for government services and facilities that returned hundreds of millions of dollars to his group.
Israeli laws do not grant the prime minister any judicial immunity, and if convicted, he will not be forced to resign until after all judicial means have been exhausted.