Netanyahu’s Corruption Trial Opens Sunday, but He’ll Fight the Case Outside Court

Over the course of 18 months and three elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did everything he could to prevent this moment from arriving, to keep his trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust from starting.

– Bibi swears in his colossal coalition and readies for a courtroom showdown

Bibi swears in his colossal coalition and readies for a courtroom showdown Haaretz

First he sought parliamentary immunity from the Knesset. When he realized he had no majority to support that, he clung to his office, hoping that the governmental power he held would do the job.

This week, he tried to evade showing up for the reading of the charges so he wouldn’t be photographed in the dock. And even now, he undoubtedly has plans to escape justice – perhaps running for president in another 18 months, or perhaps another election that would give him a Knesset majority to abort his trial.

Meanwhile, he’s likely to wage a multi-pronged war. His lawyers will claim there are holes in the prosecution’s case and screw-ups by the police and prosecution. And he’ll continue his witch hunt against the police and prosecution, “a corrupt gang that I’ll expose one by one,” as he says in private conversations.

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After he tears the masks from the faces of those who brought him to trial, he told one minister, the public’s attitude toward them will resemble attitudes toward the Catholic Church after the extent of its whitewashing of sexual abuse by priests was revealed.

Some senior Justice Ministry officials believe he’ll adopt the tactics of a mafia don. Granted, he won’t send his soldiers to plant bombs in law enforcement officials’ cars, but he’ll use his mouthpieces in the political world and the media to undermine their public image, embitter their lives and intimidate them, a man well-versed in Netanyahu’s cases said.

“In the attorney general’s view, shepherding these cases to the end is a war over the state’s character and democracy, so we won’t become Poland or Hungary,” he added.