Hollywood producer testifies for showering Netanyahu with lavish gifts
The producer's testimony, whose credits include films like Pretty Woman and 12 Years a Slave, is expected to last six hours every day until next week.
Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan is a key witness in a case against the Occupation's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for fraud and breach of trust in one of three cases brought against him on Sunday.
Appearing via videoconference from the UK city of Brighton, Milchan will explain the excessive amount of gifts given to Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, but the defense will attempt to justify that the gifts were just friendly gestures.
The producer's testimony, whose credits include films like Pretty Woman and 12 Years a Slave, is expected to last six hours every day until next week and is being aired in a courtroom for judges and other lawyers, while journalists and other attendees watch.
Netanyahu arrived at the courtroom shortly after Milchan’s testimony began, and Milchan greeted him in Hebrew using Netanyahu’s nickname: “Shalom, Bibi.”
The indictment listed that Milchan sent Netanyahu and his wife a "supply line" of cigar and champagne boxes, and jewelry over several years, which amounted to nearly $200,000.
The lawsuit accuses Netanyahu of abusing his position to help Milchan secure a US visa extension through diplomatic contacts such as former Secretary of State John Kerry. He is also accused of pushing legislation that would have granted Milchan millions in tax breaks.
“Considering the many links between the defendant Netanyahu and Milchan, the defendant Netanyahu should have entirely avoided dealing with Milchan’s affairs,” the indictment says, adding that the two men had connections since 1999.
The other two cases against Netanyahu involve bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, and accusing him of exchanging regulatory favors with powerful media moguls for positive coverage. In response, Netanyahu denies the charges by claiming he is a victim of orchestration by liberal media and a biased justice system.
The trial started in 2020 and featured more than 40 prosecution witnesses, including some of Netanyahu's closest confidantes who turned against him.
Netanyahu’s character and his family’s reputation for making a living out of taxpayers and wealthy supporters have shone through in the latest case. Hadas Klein, Milchan's aide, testified last year that the Netanyahu family “loves gifts”.
Even though the idea of a plea bargain has repeatedly been brought up, prosecutors remain determined to complete the trial despite reports that they were warned by judges and that the charge of bribery would be hard to prove.