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State’s witness in PM trial will likely be prosecuted

Shlomo Filber's conflicting testimony could void his immunity deal.

Shlomo Filber, former director general of the Communications Ministry, testifies in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trial at the Jerusalem District Court, June 15, 2022. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90,
Shlomo Filber, former director general of the Communications Ministry, testifies in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trial at the Jerusalem District Court, June 15, 2022. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90,

The State Attorney’s Office recently concluded that one of the state’s witnesses in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ongoing trial on corruption charges breached the terms of his deal with the prosecution.

According to one legal opinion from a state prosecutor, state’s witness Shlomo Filber—who served under Netanyahu as Communications Ministry director general in 2015-18, when Netanyahu was both communications minister and prime minister—did not say what he was supposed to say under his immunity deal when he took the stand in the trial against Netanyahu in the Jerusalem District Court.

Immediately after he finished his testimony, the state asked that he be declared a hostile witness, but this was denied. However, the fate of his status as a state’s witness and the various protections are now in the hands of the State Attorney’s Office.

The surprising testimony led to deliberations within the State’s Attorney’s Office on the proper course of action and whether to continue giving Filber the immunity he enjoys under the state’s witness agreement.

It now emerges that following these discussions, most of those involved in the case in the State Attorney’s Office support prosecuting Filber as an alleged accessory to the offenses mentioned in Netanyahu’s indictment. However, a final decision has not yet been reached.

Filber’s testimony, particularly regarding Netanyahu’s involvement in the “Bezeq affair” in which Netanyahu is accused of giving regulatory benefits worth hundreds of millions of shekels in exchange for positive press, failed to live up to the prosecutors’ expectations and was deemed contradictory to his previous statements during police questioning.

In his agreement with the state, Filber agreed that if he breached any obligations or made false statements, the state could release itself from the agreement and pursue legal action against him.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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