Benjamin Netanyahu's graft trial resumes



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial resumed on Sunday, as the long-serving leader faces mounting discontent over his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Netanyahu is charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in a series of scandals in which he is alleged to have received lavish gifts from billionaire friends and exchanged regulatory favors with media moguls for more agreeable coverage of himself and his family.

Netanyahu denies wrongdoing, painting the accusations as a media-orchestrated witch-hunt pursued by a biased law enforcement system.

The trial opened in May.

Just before appearing in front of the judges, Netanyahu took to a podium inside the courthouse and flanked by his party members bashed the country's legal institutions in an angry tirade.

Netanyahu was not expected to appear at Sunday's hearing, which is taking place at a Jerusalem court and is mostly a procedural deliberation that will determine the pace at which the trial will proceed.

The trial resumes as Netanyahu faces widespread anger over his government's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

While the country appeared to have tamped down the first wave of infections, what's emerged as a hasty and erratic reopening has sent infections soaring.

Yet even amid the rise in new cases Netanyahu and his emergency government, formed with the goal of dealing with the crisis, appeared to neglect the numbers and moved forward with other policy priorities and its reopening plans.

It has since paused them and even reimposed restrictions, including a weekend only lockdown set to begin later this week.
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