Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial moves forward with the appearance of a crucial state witness, a fearsome fixer who allegedly exposes the former official's secrets while in office.

Nir Hefetz, who is the former right-hand man of Bibi, a nickname for the former prime minister, told the court that Netanyahu was a vain man who spent as many resources on media coverage as he did on national security. The witness said that Bibi was obsessed with consolidating power and controlling how the public viewed him.

Crucial Witness in Corruption Trial

Hefetz became a state witness after police arrested him and placed him in prison as part of the police investigation into Netanyahu's alleged crimes of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. When he entered the courtroom, Hefetz was surrounded by bodyguards while a small group of Netanyahu supporters chanted, "There's no pardon for flipped witnesses."

The former official worked as the head of communications during the former prime minister's last successful re-election campaign in 2015. When he took the stand in the trial, he began to give a derogatory testimony which could prolong the court hearing for months, The Daily Beast reported.

Hefetz labeled Netanyahu a "control freak" and his statements are being cross-examined by authorities. The former prime minister's team will continue to poke holes and find inconsistencies in the former chief spokesman's testimony.

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Netanyahu's case of corruption has consumed Israel and its residents for months and years even before the beginning of the trial. The former prime minister's trial began on Apr. 5, marking the end of his reign as the country's leader.

Various parties teamed up to join a coalition that supports Netanyahu despite ideological differences among each other. They believed that the former prime minister's trial that could run for months was unhealthy and detrimental for the state, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Israel PM's Criminal Case

Throughout the allegations, Netanyahu has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denies any sort of corruption during his time as prime minister. But if there was anyone who could know about the inner workings of the former prime minister's alleged corrupt acts, it would be Hefetz, who served Netanyahu as early as 2015.

The appearance of Hefetz as a state witness is a reminder that Netanyahu's corruption trial is at the heart of a constitutional crisis in Israel. The controversy has raised concerns about the country's democracy and the legitimacy of Netanyahu as prime minister. The issue resulted in four elections in two years.

Unlike other leaders who were accused of corruption, Netanyahu refused to give up his position as prime minister even after being indicted in 2019. Instead, he claimed that he was the victim of a biased judicial system. His claims created a showdown between himself and the judiciary branches.

Netanyahu's stubbornness also caused concerns about whether or not the trial would result in him using his position to influence the outcome of the trial. Some argue that he had the power to replace the attorney general with someone who was more likely to support and aquit him, the New York Times reported.


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