If the court declares Shlomo Filber a hostile witness, he could lose his immunity from jail.
https://www.jpost.com/-By YONAH JEREMY BOB
Witness Shlomo Filber awaits questioning in the trial of Benjamin Netanyahu.(photo credit: OREN BEN HAKON)
In an explosive development that could change the entire character of the trial against former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the state prosecution requested on Tuesday that the Jerusalem District Court declare his former aide turned state’s witness Shlomo Filber a hostile witness.
State prosecutor Yehudit Tirosh said that Filber has not cooperated sufficiently with his plea deal and if the court grants the request, he could potentially lose his immunity from jail, though the prosecution can decide that issue at a later date.
State prosecutor Yehudit Tirosh said that Filber has not cooperated sufficiently with his plea deal and if the court grants the request, he could lose his immunity from jail.
Further, the very fact of the prosecution declaring him a hostile witness says to the court that they believe he is lying to the court.
This goes beyond the first two days of hearings with Filber when there was a tug-of-war between Filber and Tirosh because now the prosecution will try to convince the court to only listen to his testimony to police in February 2018.
The specific issue that finally led Tirosh to lose her patience with Filber was when he tried to act as if his back channeling with Bezeq officials behind the back of his own Communications Ministry officials in order to help them with the Bezeq-YES merger and other issues was not problematic.
When Tirosh confronted Filber with his repeated admission to the Police that his backchannel with Bezeq was “not proper,” he still tried to awkwardly explain how he only meant that it was vaguely unethical, but not criminal.
At a certain point, Tirosh even brought Judge Rivkah Friedman-Feldman openly to her side with her showing frustration with Filber not taking a clear stand on what he really meant and whether he thought the backchannel was criminal.
Shortly after Tirosh saw Friedman-Feldman’s frustration, she asked to declare Filber a hostile witness.
An audible wave hit the courtroom and all of the defense lawyers jumped up to object.
The judges called for a recess for all sides to weigh their next moves carefully.
Filber moved quickly over to Tirosh seemingly pleading with her to back off and explain himself.
Tirosh, with fury in her eyes, waved him off, seemingly to imply she was sick of his straddling the fence.
It was also possible that Tirosh would hold the issue of the immunity deal over Filber to try to get him to cooperate more with her going forward and that declaring him a hostile witness was a final warning.