Netanyahu's Trial Despite His Current Victory

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with right bloc leaders (photo credit: LIKUD)
On the heels of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's impressive electoral victory on Monday, reports resurfaced about whether his lawyers would be able to pull-off a further delay in his trial, set to start on March 17.
While it is not impossible that he may get a short delay, there is a strong chance that the court will deny any postponement, and if they grant a postponement, it will not be significant.

Netanyahu could request a postponement, claiming that the prosecution has not turned over all evidentiary materials. Or he could argue that the ongoing process of the State Comptroller Committee hearing his request that it permit tycoon Spencer Partridge pay an estimated NIS 10 million in legal fees going forward relating to the trial  has not been completed. 
Netanyahu will probably also note he is deep in trying to form a coalition government and needs to not be distracted.
Underlying all of this will be the message to the court that it better treat Netanyahu differently and carefully because he just won the support of a clear majority (or at least plurality) of the public despite the public's knowledge of the three corruption cases he faces.
The reason that the court will not give him much of a delay fall into substantive and technical categories.
Substantively, the court and Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit have attempted to walk a middle path with Netanyahu and electoral considerations.
At every crossroads where the legal establishment could have actively pushed Netanyahu out of office, it did not. At the same time, at every point where the legal establishment could have completely given Netanyahu a pass, it did not. 
The middle road ideology appears to be that Netanyahu will get temporary delays to avoid being seen by the public as rushing his trial or blatantly interfering to hurt his electoral chances, but not giving him substantial delays, which might appear to the public as cowering or shirking legal responsibility to bring him to trial.
The High Court could have rejected a petition to force his resignation out of hand, or could have heard it and ruled that it for sure had no jurisdiction to force out a prime minister pre-conviction.
On the opposite extreme, the High Court could have ordered Netanyahu to resign pre-election.
Instead the High Court let Netanyahu run, but it also heard the petition and essentially said that it potentially might have the power to order a prime minister to quit, but thought it would be poor judgement to do so given the state of the country and that Netanyahu had not yet been convicted.
The Jerusalem District Court could have made sure that Netanyahu's trial started pre-election. He was due to be indicted November 21 and the delay until January 28 by an eventually withdrawn immunity request could easily have justified a trial starting by mid-February.
Or the Jerusalem District Court could have not set a trial date at all, waiting for the election results, which would have signalled a readiness to postpone indefinitely if Netanyahu won.
Instead, the Jerusalem District Court chose a middle path of announcing a date while elections were still running, but making the date itself two weeks after elections.
This gives Netanyahu time to catch his breath, theoretically enough time to form a government if he had won a 61-seat right-wing bloc majority outright (which it appears he just missed), but also signalled that the court would proceed with the trial even if standard multiple month coalition negotiations were underway.
In terms of Netanyahu's technical objections, the court might at most give a small delay as Mandelblit has occasionally done in the past.
The fact that the prosecution and defense have not agreed about how much evidence has been turned over will not delay the March 17 date much because that is exactly what the first hearing is scheduled to resolve. Witnesses will not be called until mid-late 2020.
The fact that the comptroller committee is debating Netanyahu's legal-financial equation will not get more than a small postponement, if any at all, because they can reach their decision fairly quickly and because the judges know that an earlier comptroller committee rejected his request for tycoon-financing for his trial three times. 
Meaning there is nothing new about this issue, and if anything, the court may look condescendingly on the comptroller committee's reversal of its earlier three decisions, made possible when new State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman replaced the old committee with new members reportedly with links to Likud.
Further, the court will likely take its signal from Mandelblit, whose position has been that whether Netanyahu can get outside financing or not is an outside issue that does not impact the calendar of legal decisions regarding his case. In other words, he may end up getting outside financing, but it is not a guaranteed right that can delay his case.
Most importantly, a new Netanyahu coalition has carried rumors of passing a retroactive immunity law to scrap the criminal case.
This has not gone over well with the court, and moving forward with the case without exceptional delays will be the court's clear message that it will not be intimidated by such threats.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dr. Vladimir Zelenko has now treated 699 coronavirus patients with 100% success

ORIGIN OF THE AKAN

GARDEN OF EDEN FOUND IN AFRICA

THE HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF THE ZULU PEOPLE

BRIEF HISTORY OF NKALAHA.

FIVE WAYS A WIFE CAN REST HER HUSBAND ON HER

MYSTERY OF IGBO COSMOLOGY

THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF UDI by Onyeji Nnaji

THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF NSUKKA by Onyeji Nnaji

ETHIOPIA:THE OLDEST PEOPLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST