Netanyahu negotiating plea deal
Former Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is negotiating a plea deal in his corruption case, which could include a provision banning him from politics, according to reports.
A source told the Associated Press on Sunday that a deal could be signed early this week, potentially ushering the former prime minister off the political stage and paving the way for new leadership of his Likud party.
Reuters, also citing an anonymous source, said the 72-year-old politician is in discussions with Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to plead guilty to reduced charges and have potential prison time commuted to community service.
Another source told the AP the deal could drop some charges facing Netanyahu, who is accused of receiving lavish gifts from wealthy associates and arranging a quid-pro-quo for positive media coverage.
The source added a number of elements remain unresolved, such as the inclusion of the charge of “moral turpitude,” which under Israel law would ban Netanyahu from politics for seven years.
Netanyahu is facing trial for fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes in three separate cases. He has denied any wrongdoing.
In a tweet, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz shared his displeasure over Netanyahu’s plea deal.
“There was no person who endangered the rule of Israeli law more than Netanyahu. The man who used the prime minister’s chair to intimidate lawyers and judges, investigators and journalists,” Horowitz said.
“The man who worked to destroy the public’s trust in the foundations of democracy for personal motives – is not entitled to deals and facilitations. In the face of the great corrupters the law must be exhausted. This is in the public interest.”
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