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Netanyahu tries to avert indictment as he fights for political life

• https://www.reuters.com, Jeffrey Heller

The pre-trial hearings, scheduled to be held over four days, will allow him to make his case against indictment to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit in three graft investigations.

A final decision by the attorney-general on whether to file charges is expected by the end of 2019.

Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing, faces no legal requirement to leave government if indicted, as long as he remains prime minister.

But his aura of political invincibility has been clouded by his failure to win a clear victory in parliamentary elections in April and last month, after a decade in office as head of the right-wing Likud party.

"Today, we will present all the evidence that everyone knows and some new evidence," Amit Hadad, one of Netanyahu's attorneys, told reporters outside Mandelblit's office. "We believe that all three cases will be dropped after the hearings."

Mandelblit announced in February that he intends to charge Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach and trust. Netanyahu has said he is the victim of a political witch-hunt spearheaded by left-wing opponents and journalists.


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