Netanyahu Indictment Served to Knesset, Setting Off 30 Days to Ask Lawmakers for Immunity

Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit filed on Monday the indictment against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, setting off a 30-day period during which Netanyahu may request lawmakers to grant him immunity from standing trial in three corruption cases.

In his letter, Mendelblit effectively accepts claims by Netanyahu's legal team that the indictment published on November 21 shouldn't count as the starting point of the 30-day period, arguing that it does not specify which court would hear Netanyahu's cases.

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According to Mendelblit, he did so "to avoid any claims on the matter," despite stating that the law is "clear" on the fact that any charges against a sitting prime minister would be filed with the Jerusalem District Court.

The prime minister was charged with bribery, fraud and breach in three corruption cases, dubbed Cases 4000, 2000 and 1000.

The indictment comes after a four-day hearing with Netanyahu's defense team last month, followed by weeks of intensive discussion at the attorney general's offices.

Netanyahu's attorneys also claimed that in the indictment published last month, the names of witnesses were redacted. Along with his Monday letter, Mendelblit published the full list of 333 witnesses along with their names or affiliation to any firms or governmental bodies involved in the cases.

As leaders of political factions face an ongoing deadlock in coalition talks after Israel's second round of elections within a year on September 17, most Knesset functions are paralyzed, making Netanyahu's chances of passing an immunity proposal unlikely. However, the Knesset's legal adviser, Eyal Yinon, said on Tuesday that the Knesset House Committee, which would examine any request for immunity, could be set up immediately.