Former state attorney Moshe Lador on Saturday said presumed incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is aware he’s in serious legal jeopardy from his ongoing trial on corruption charges and is working to defang the judiciary in order to save himself from prison.
Lador, who oversaw the prosecution of ex-premier Ehud Olmert, said plans to overhaul the judiciary are being advanced “in a heavy-handed and forceful manner that I believe will change the face of the nation.”
He lambasted Netanyahu for “agreeing to form a coalition together with those who are pushing these initiatives forward.”
Noting that the prime minister-designate had resisted such efforts in the past, Lador said there was only one reason for his turnaround.
“This is not being forced upon him. He’s the one who wants it and why? For one unequivocal reason which is that contrary to the spins, he understands and his lawyers tell him that his legal situation is very bad in this case,” Lador told Channel 12 news.
“If he’s convicted in the case, he knows it’s a short distance to prison.”
Netanyahu faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases, as well as bribery in one of them. He has repeatedly denied wrongdoing while attack police and prosecutors and claiming without evidence that there is a far-reaching conspiracy to remove him from power.
Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich has proposed legal reforms which would drastically curb judicial authority and potentially terminate Netanyahu’s criminal trial.
Smotrich’s program includes completely eliminating the charge of fraud and breach of trust — which Netanyahu was indicted for in a trio of graft cases — from the Israeli criminal code.
Netanyahu has said his trial would not be cut short and insisted he had no intention of changing Israeli laws or “canceling anything retroactively,” referring to the charges against him.