Sara Netanyahu to go on trial Sunday in takeout trays case

Sara Netanyahu to go on trial Sunday in takeout trays case

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara visit a synagogue in Vilnius on August 26, 2018. Sara Netanyahu is charged with spending almost $100,000 in public funds on meals from upscale restaurants, despite already having a private cook.

The trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife for misuse of public funds opened Sunday in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu appeared before the Jerusalem's magistrates court but made no remarks before the press was asked to leave.

She was charged in June.

It is noted that the defendant was accused of embezzlement of budget funds in the amount of 100 thousand dollars on the star chefs at the official residence of the Prime Minister.

She has refused a plea bargain, offered to her by the State Prosecutor's Office, in which she could plead guilty in some charges and return most of the money taken, in return for the cancellation of the trial.

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On Friday, the prime minister was questioned by police investigating two cases in which he is accused of corruption, Israeli media reported. The family has vehemently denied wrongdoing and claim they are the victims of a political witch-hunt driven by a hostile media. In 2016, a Jerusalem labour court ruled that she had insulted and raged at household staff in the prime minister's official residence.

Transcripts from police investigations have sporadically been leaked to the media, painting an unflattering picture of Ms Netanyahu.

If convicted, Netanyahu, 59, could face up to five years of prison. The state is also authorized to foot the bill for private guests of the prime minister and his or her spouse so long as this is not a social or family event involving more than 20 people.

It seemed unlikely Sara's present legal woes would cause significant political damage to her husband, now in his fourth term as Israel's leader and riding high in opinion polls despite the allegations against him.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to ease tensions with Russia since the incident in which Syria downed a Russian spy plane during an attempt to retaliate against Israeli aircraft.

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