A bid by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to delay the evidentiary stage of his trial for corruption was denied Sunday in Jerusalem District Court.
Netanyahu's attorney had asked that the November 29 deadline for the defense to respond to the indictment be extended as the prime minister is seeking to end confidentiality of investigation materials and amend the charges he faces.
But Judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman denied the request from attorney Boaz Ben Tzur.
"At present there are fixed deadlines," she said. "As of this moment nothing is changing."
The request came at the close of the third hearing in Netanyahu's corruption trial, during which both sides briefed the court on developments in investigation materials and set dates for future court sessions.
A hearing on the preliminary arguments is scheduled for December 6 and the evidentiary phase is scheduled to begin in January 2021, but in light of Netanyahu's request to amend the indictment, his defense attorneys sought to postpone further proceedings.
Defendants were exempt from appearing at the hearing. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the hearing was screened for the media in a separate courtroom.
xNetanyahu has been indicted earlier this year for allegations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases, also known as Cases 1000, 2000 and 4000.
Case 1000 alleges Netanyahu has received expensive gifts worth up to NIS 1 million from Israeli-American producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.
Case 2000 concerns alleged discussions between Netanyahu and the publisher of the Yedioth Ahronoth group Arnon Mozes over positive media coverage in return for Netanyahu weakening Yedioth's main rival the Sheldon Adelson-owned Israel Hayom.
Case 4000 involves an alleged plan to ease regulations for Shaul Elovitch in return for positive coverage on the Walla! news website.
Last Thursday, Netanyahu's attorney demanded that the prosecution strike from the indictment any alleged transgressions involving the Netanyahu family or his wife Sara, and refer only to issues involving the prime minister himself.
The demand came after witnesses testified that the prime minister had no knowledge of the actions of his wife and son Yair in one of his cases, and had even objected to them upon learning about them.
The premier's defense team argued in petitions regarding the indictments in Case 1000 and Case 4000 that the indictment includes evidence in clear contrast of the law and blamed "a flawed and tendentious investigative procedure and considerations that are in conflict with the principles of justice and legal fairness."
They also demanded that the prosecution detail the benefits the parties exchanged in Case 1000 and Case 4000.
"Only providing details in this regard will allow the prime minister to formulate relevant lines of defense and determine what evidence he will seek to present, and only then will a complete and clear picture be presented to the court," the request said.
The prosecution said in response that the request will be answered during the preliminary arguments phase.