Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's defense lawyers, who spent 11 hours trying to persuade the attorney general not to press charges against Israel's leader on multiple corruption cases, arrived Thursday to the Justice Ministry for a second day of pre-indictment hearings.
Netanyahu faces possible indictment in three criminal corruption investigations known as Cases 4000, 1000 and 2000. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit already has recommended that Netanyahu be indicted on fraud, breach of trust and bribery charges.
Netanyahu did not appear at Wednesday’s hearing, sending instead a high-powered 10-member legal team. As they entered the Justice Ministry' offices in Jerusalem, his lawyers ruled out a plea bargain and expressed confidence that the charges would be dropped.
Wednesday and Thursday's hearings are set to focus solely on Case 4000, which involves an alleged plan to ease regulations for telecommunications mogul and Bezeq chief Shaul Elovitch in return for positive coverage on his Walla! news website.
The hearing is expected to last at least four days, and it could take weeks for the attorney general to render his final decision. However, legal experts say the likelihood of an indictment is high, given the mountains of evidence collected by police over years of investigations and the prosecution’s seeming consensus of pursuing a trial.
Netanyahu has called the allegations part of a witch hunt, lashing out against the media, police, prosecutors and the justice system.
Associated Press contributed to this report