If Netanyahu makes a court decision on political fate, AG will speak

If Netanyahu makes a court decision on political fate, AG will speak

If Netanyahu is only willing to accept an Arye Deri-style deal where the prosecution does not seek a finding of moral turpitude and he could remain in politics merely by resigning his Knesset seat on a temporary basis, Mandelblit would be unwilling to enter formal talks about how to amend the indictment and other issues.

Story Highlights:

  • Currently, there are only informal negotiations between emissaries to determine whether Netanyahu is serious about accepting such a deal.

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Mandelblit feels he is in a much stronger position than Netanyahu because the former prime minister initiated the latest round of informal talks and the attorney-general is stepping down on February 1. NETANYAHU ARRIVES for a hearing on corruption charges at the Jerusalem District Court in November. (credit: Jack Guez/Pool via Reuters)

However, if Netanyahu accepts that his political fate will be determined by the court and with an aggressive push by the prosecution to send him into retirement, Mandelblit is willing to enter talks.

In addition, Mandelblit’s immediate replacement will be State Attorney Amit Aisman, who Netanyahu tried to block from taking office for several months.

Further, almost the entire state prosecution would prefer to continue the trial and send Netanyahu to jail and even wanted to indict Netanyahu for more serious bribery charges in Cases 1000 and 2000, than the more minor charges Mandelblit decided on in the end (Mandelblit agreed to bribery charges only in Case 4000.)

Based on the above, Mandelblit is unwilling to even bring a proposal before the state prosecution team unless Netanyahu agrees to the basic framework of corruption-related crimes (even if reduced) and the court deciding his political fate with an aggressive prosecution push for moral turpitude. Mandelblit feels that bringing anything less – including many of the scenarios being floated in media reports by Netanyahu messengers – would be dead on arrival with the rest of the prosecution team, and he is only willing to try to get them to bend so far.

At the same time, Mandelblit is ready to push the prosecution team to agree to no jail time, if the above requirements are met and if Netanyahu agrees to a finding that formally requires jail time, but is unofficially converted to serious community service hours (meaning Netanyahu would not actually enter jail.) The Attorney-General is waiting for Netanyahu’s response about accepting the basic conditions for formal negotiations to see if the latest outreach by the former prime minister is for real or merely a momentary whim in which he hoped that Mandelblit was weakened by cross-examination of key witness Nir Hefetz and could be bulldozed in his last two weeks into an Aryeh Deri style-deal.

Deri cut a plea deal in which he must resign from the Knesset, but can run for the next Knesset, remain head of Shas and possibly even seek to become a future minister, though that issue is more amorphous.

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