Benjamin Netanyahu and prosecution witness Nir Hefetz appear in court in former PM's corruption trial
Benjamin Netanyahu and prosecution witness Nir Hefetz appear in court in former PM's corruption trial
Photo: Oren Ben Hakun
Netanyahu arrives in court ahead of Hefetz's testimony

Former close aid takes stand in Netanyahu corruption trial

Nir Hefetz, who was media adviser to Netanyahu and his family, was to testify on former PM's intent to grant billions in regulatory change to communication mogul in exchange for positive news coverage on his site

Ynet, Associated Press |
Published: 11.22.21, 10:18
A one-time confidante to Benjamin Netanyahu began testifying against him Monday in the former prime minister's corruption trial in Jerusalem.
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  • Nir Hefetz, a former spokesman for Netanyahu, is a key prosecution witness expected to deliver critical testimony in the trial, which revolves around accusations that Netanyahu committed fraud, breach of trust and accepted bribes. The former premier, now opposition leader, denies any wrongdoing.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    בנימין נתניהו הגיע לבית המשפט בעת עדותו של ניר חפץ
    בנימין נתניהו הגיע לבית המשפט בעת עדותו של ניר חפץ
    Netanyahu arrives in court ahead of Hefetz's testimony
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Hefetz left a long career in journalism in 2009 to work as a spokesman for Netanyahu's government, and in 2014 became the Netanyahu family's spokesman and adviser. In 2018, after he was arrested in connection with one of Netanyahu's corruption cases, Hefetz signed a state's witness deal and provided investigators with recordings of conversations with Netanyahu and his family.
    Netanyahu appeared in court to hear his former close aid's testimony after he was given the judges panel's permission to remain away during earlier witness testimonies.
    At the start of his testimony, Hefetz said Netanyahu invested as much time in the press coverage he was given, as he did in matters of national security.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    ניר חפץ הגיע לתת עדות בבית המשפט
    ניר חפץ הגיע לתת עדות בבית המשפט
    Nir Hefetz prepares to begin his testimony in court
    (Photo: Oren Ben Hakun)
    Netanyahu was heard giggling often during his former aid's testimony, while his supporters demonstrated outside.
    Hefetz signed a state witness agreement in 2018, and is considered a key witness in Case 4,000, in which Netanyahu is suspected of receiving bribes from communications mogul Shaul Elovich.
    According to the indictment, Netanyahu received positive news coverage from the Walla News site, owned by Elovich, in exchange for regulatory changes that would have delivered Bezeq communications, a profit of approximately one billion shekels.
    Netanyahu acted as communications minister as well as premier at the time.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    שאול אלוביץ'
    שאול אלוביץ'
    Shaul Elovich arrives at Jerusalem District Court where he is on trial for bribing Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevich)
    Netanyahu and his family made demands directly and through intermediaries including Nir Hefetz, for positive coverage of by Walla and demanded negative reports about his political rivals.
    The former Netanyahu aide was scheduled to testify last week, but the testimony was delayed at the last minute due to fresh allegations from a new witness.
    Hefetz, who acted as media advisor for Netanyahu and his family, is also expected to testify on other charges leveled against the former prime minister including in Case 1,000 - according to which, Netanyahu and his wife demanded and received gifts from billionaire Arnon Milchen and Australian gambling mogul James Packer.
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