Benjamin Netanyahu arrives at courthouse for start of corruption trial. On Sunday, Prime Minister he has entered the Jerusalem courtoom, slamming the corruption charges against him as «slanderous and delusional».
PM Netanyahu along with his entourage arrived at the Jerusalem District Court close to 2:30 pm, after his request to have his lawyers represent him instead was rejected. PM’s co-defendants also arrived at the courthouse for the opening hearing.
Benjamin Netanyahu showed his readiness to hear the arraignment against him, AFP reports. However, he denies any allegations against him. Opposition leader Yair Lapid accused them of fomenting violence and trying to intimidate the judges. Netanyahu’s critics believe that PM was even trying to drag the country into a civil war to save himself from trial.
«They’ve sewn slanderous and delusional cases,» said the prime minister in a statement shortly after arriving at the courthouse.
On Sunday, the local mass media representatives, large crowds of both fans and protesters began gathering outside the court, hours before the opening hearing.
Many people suggest that despite Netanyahu’s wins elections one after the other, but his values do not match the values of the left, they need to overthrow our leader.
In addition, several of Netanyahu’s Likud party ministers, including the newly appointed Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana and Transportation Minister Miri Regev, arrived to back PM.
“The people had their say at the ballot box,” said Regev. “I expect the judges not to fall into the trap set up by the media. I believe in the prime minister. I really hope the justices will do justice.”
The dramatic scene comes just days after the long-serving leader swore in his new government, breaking more than a year of political stalemate following three inconclusive elections.
Netanyahu’s proceedings were supposed to begin in March, but were delayed by his justice minister who issued restrictions on the courts amid the coronavirus crisis.
Benjamin Netanyahu faces charges of fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes in a series of corruption cases stemming from ties to wealthy friends. Prime minister is accused of accepting lavish gifts and offering to grant favours to powerful media moguls in exchange for favourable coverage of him and his family.
Israeli PM denies the charges, saying that media are forging a conspiracy to oust him. The trial comes after years of scandals swirling around the family.