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Netanyahu trial: Yeshua told staff Bibi ‘destroying Zionist enterprise’

CM 04/05/2021

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Walla and Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck back hard on Tuesday in the public corruption trial before the Jerusalem District Court.The trial has now entered into a new phase with the cross-examination of former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua.The first seven hearings of the trial in April were the prosecution’s chance to shine in showing off its claims that Netanyahu and Elovitch engaged in a media bribery scheme. The next 10-20 hearings will be the defense team’s chance to strike back.Elovitch lawyer Jacques Chen started to cross-examine Yeshua on Tuesday and will continue again on Wednesday and next week.Chen’s cross-examination started by presenting Yeshua with an article in Ayin Hashvuit on July 18, 2013.The article said reporters had interviewed 30 Walla reporters who complained of improper interventions by Yeshua in their reporting.Furthermore, the article specifically highlights that Yeshua intervened for a variety of “commercial interests” which had no connection to Netanyahu, and maybe none to Elovitch’s Bezeq regulatory interests.

Chen asked Yeshua about the article saying, “The one who hovers above everything, and Yeshua does not dent this and explains the system’s need to bend itself in favor of the system’s commercial interests.”Yeshua, “There are also commercial interests, and I am not embarrassed to admit what all CEOs in media refuse to acknowledge. From what I remember, I did not want to deny it because everyone does it.”Next, Yeshua tried to reconnect the intervention trends back to Netanyahu and Elovitch saying that the reporters in Ayin Hashvuit did not know that most of his interference related to the prime minister, but that “we covered this up well” from the reporters.Earlier, Chen also tried to paint Yeshua as a liar and serial recorder of people.In his direct testimony in April, Yeshua had said he never recorded anyone until the Netanyahu-Elovitch saga.Chen presented three recordings, which he said Yeshua made and tried to hide from police, which had no connection to Netanyahu and Elovitch.Yeshua responded that he did not remember these, but had given his cellphone over to the police to take whatever they wanted.After Chen finishes cross-examining Yeshua, Netanyahu’s lawyer Boaz Ben Tzur will go after Yeshua, with lawyer Michal Rozin, representing Iris Elovitch, Shaul’s wife, going after the former Walla CEO last.Cross-examination could potentially take the trial into the summer recess – which might mean that the next prosecution witness would not testify until September.From objections and arguments which Chen made during the prosecution’s questioning of Yeshua, the focus now is expected to be on inconsistencies between Yeshua’s testimony to police versus in court.In addition, the defense is expected to read out portions of Yeshua’s testimony to police which favor their case, but which the prosecution avoided highlighting during its presentation.The defense may also delve into questions such as why the prosecution did not indict Yeshua in order to prove inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case or to make an argument of arbitrary enforcement. Source: Jerusalem Post

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