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Netanyahu’s corruption trial resumes amid protests

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial resumed at the Jerusalem District Court amid mounting protests over his alleged corruption and handling of the coronavirus crisis.

The second hearing of the trial, which resumed after a two-month break, is focusing on an additional time given to his lawyers to study the investigation material, reports Xinhua news agency.

Netanyahu and other defendants in the case were not obliged to attend the trial.

In the hearing, Netanyahu’s lawyer Yossi Segev asked for a postponement in the beginning of the trial due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We cannot investigate witnesses when the witness is wearing a mask,” he told the judges.

During the discussion, the judges are expected to determine the timetable for the hearings in the trial.

Netanyahu’s trial over bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three different cases began on May 24.

Israel’s longest-serving leader is facing growing public anger over his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

The accusations include accepting some $200,000 in gifts such as cigars and champagne from two billionaires, Hollywood-based Israeli movie mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian magnate James Packer, according to a Times of Israel report.

Netanyahu is also accused of offering to push legislation benefiting powerful Israeli media moguls in exchange for more positive coverage in their publications.

He denies any wrongdoing, saying he is the victim of a wide-ranging conspiracy and called the allegations baseless.

Rallies were held outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and major road junctions across the country.

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