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Israel Court Orders PM Netanyahu to Appear for Opening of His Criminal Trial

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AP)

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AP)

Netanyahu's attorneys had asked the court for an exemption from appearing for the opening of proceedings.

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An Israeli court on Wednesday ordered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to appear for the opening of his criminal trial in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Netanyahu's attorneys had asked the court for an exemption from appearing for the opening of proceedings.

The court rejected the request, saying the accused appearing for the reading of the indictment is the rule and there are no grounds for granting Netanyahu an exemption in this case.

Netanyahu was indicted on charges of fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes last year. He has denied any wrongdoing in the series of scandals involving accepting lavish gifts from wealthy friends, trading media reforms for positive coverage.

Netanyahu's trial was supposed to begin last month, but was delayed by his justice minister due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Israel's longest-serving prime minister, Netanyahu swore in his fourth consecutive government earlier this week after the country's third national election in under a year. From his position as prime minister, he is not legally required to resign while under indictment and is expected to continue his verbal attacks on the media, justice system, and political opponents.


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