Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has ordered the police to delay filing their recommendations regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption cases pending a related High Court of Justice ruling, The Jerusalem Post confirmed on Sunday.
The Justice Ministry spokesman told the Post that the delay might only be a few days if the High Court itself did not delay the recommendations.
A petition by lawyer Yossi Fuchs has been pending before the High Court to block the police from making recommendations to Mandelblit regarding Netanyahu. Fuchs’ request is that the police simply convey a summary of all of the evidence without an overall conclusion.
However, the recent law passed regarding police recommendations specifically does not apply to Case 1000 – the “Illegal Gifts Affair,” and Case 2000 – the “Media Bribery Affair.” Netanyahu himself publicly committed that he would not try to stop the police from passing on its recommendations, and all of his recent public statements have acknowledged the presumption that the police will publicly recommend to Mandelblit to indict him – at least in Case 1000.
The Justice Ministry spokesman explained to the Post that Fuchs’ petition also requested an order to freeze any police recommendation actions until the High Court’s ruling.
“We still have not responded. We need to respond tomorrow both to the petition and to the request to freeze any police recommendations. Therefore, it does not make sense to pass on recommendations in a way which could be interpreted as circumventing the High Court,” he said.
He continued: “We are talking about a day or a couple of days... in any case, the police have not completed their recommendations and need another day or couple of days.”
The spokesman confirmed that the expectation was that the High Court would reject the petition – the attorney- general has made it clear that he opposes any attempt to block the police from having their voice heard – and that the police recommendations would be forwarded shortly thereafter.
Still, it is possible that the High Court could grant the freeze pending a ruling on the broader issue. In the super-charged atmosphere surrounding the police recommendations, any delay could be interpreted by critics as a sign of tampering.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in response to the decision that they were not aware of the petition.
“Obviously it wasn’t on our behalf and was submitted without our knowledge,” a statement reads. “Anyway, we are not paying attention to these recommendations – that today we all know what they are worth.”
Udi Shaham contributed to this report.