After submitting his letter of resignation to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning 3 Teves 5773 at 10:30am, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the media his is taking a leave of absence to address the charges being filed against him – confident he would be returning in the not-too-distant future.
On Monday afternoon, 4 Teves, Lieberman and his attorney will be meeting with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who appears determined to move ahead with the charges of breach of trust and fraud against the foreign minister, an indictment that will include the moral turpitude clause. The latter is what is most important to Lieberman at present, for this will most likely prevent him from accepting a plea bargain agreement that would permit an expeditious summation of the legal proceedings against him. If Lieberman pleads guilty to minor charges but is slapped with the moral turpitude clause, he cannot return to his political career for at least seven years, as was the case with Aryeh Deri. As such, if offered a plea bargain agreement, Lieberman is unlikely to accept it if it includes the moral turpitude clause.
Seeking to expedite the legal proceedings due to the upcoming general elections, Lieberman also sent letters to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Chairman of the Knesset House Committee Yariv Levin, informing them he voluntarily removes his Knesset immunity from criminal prosecution to avoid the lengthy process of voting to strip him of that immunity in the interest of time.
Actually, speaking with the media, Lieberman told reporters he is not interested in any plea bargain agreement, not just because of the moral turpitude clause, but because he needs a trial to permit him to prove his innocence once and for all.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)