Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit asked the Knesset’s legal adviser Eyal Yinon Wednesday to cancel Thursday’s Knesset Interior Affairs Committee session set to deal with the sexual abuse complaints against former Lahav 433 commander Dep. Comm. Roni Ritman and its effect on the corruption investigation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara.
It was reported Tuesday that Netanyahu believes the investigation being conducted against him by the police’s Lahav 433 Unit, formerly headed by Ritman, is motivated by revenge, as Ritman allegedly believes that the Netanyahu couple was behind the sexual abuse complaint filed against him, costing him his career.
The attorney general believes that conducting the session while the Netanyahu investigation is ongoing may “harm the investigation in such a way that can be interpreted as an attempt to subvert justice.”
Mandelblit wrote that he was made aware that the Knesset session, chaired by MK Yoav Kisch (Likud), is scheduled for Thursday and intends to deal with the “concern regarding a conflict of interest following news reports about Ritman’s claims, in the context of the complaints against him, and their impact on Netanyahu's investigations."
Mandelblit said in a press statement, prior to the scheduling of the session, that Chairman Kisch said that he would examine "how an investigation is being conducted against Netanyahu when the overseeing investigator (Ritman) believes that Netanyahu is running a campaign accusing him of sexual harassment. The matter will be clarified in a committee discussion."
The attorney general also noted that safeguarding the integrity of the criminal investigation and the uncovering of the truth in a democratic society, in whose name the Israeli law enforcement system operates independently and impartially, is a core value.
"From the subject of the meeting, as well as from the statements made by the Knesset member in a statement published by the press, it appears that the planned meeting is liable to constitute an encroachment, even if unintentionally, on the jurisdiction of the law enforcement system," Mandelblit wrote.