Netanyahu to appear before prosecutor in October: lawyer

Jerusalem (AFP) –


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's lawyer said Monday his client will appear before the state prosecutor in early October over corruption allegations, after his request for a delay was rejected.

In a video distributed by the spokesman for Netanyahu's family, lawyer Amit Haddad said a refusal by the prosecutor to grant a postponement meant "we will be present" at the hearing.

But Haddad contended there were "many elements" justifying a delay, pointing to heavy paperwork involved in the case and the fact he was the only lawyer representing the prime minister.

Netanyahu faces possible indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

General prosecutor Avichai Mandelblit had on Thursday rejected Netanyahu's request to postpone the hearing, according to the justice ministry.

Netanyahu called new elections late last month, after failing to cobble together a coalition in the wake of April elections.

"The new elections constitute exceptional circumstances to which exceptional attention must be accorded," Netanyahu contended on Thursday.

The prosecutor said that after due consideration, "nothing justified granting the request to change the dates fixed for the appearance".

Last month, Mandelblit pushed back from July to October the date by which Netanyahu needed to respond to the allegations against him.

Netanyahu has called the corruption allegations against him a "witch hunt".