JERUSALEM - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attorneys met Wednesday with Israel's attorney general and other top law enforcement officials in Netanyahu's long-awaited pre-indictment hearing on a series of corruption scandals.
The hearing is the last step before formal charges are pressed and has been delayed many times already. It looms large over Netanyahu's efforts to extend his political career. The sessions are expected to last four days and they come just two weeks after Israel's second inconclusive election of the year.
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has recommended indicting Netanyahu on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges in three different cases. The hearing offers Netanyahu's legal team a chance to present its defense in hopes of convincing authorities to drop the charges. A decision on whether to indict is expected by the end of the year.
The scandals have engulfed Netanyahu's family and his inner circle, with at least three former close confidants turning state's witnesses and testifying against him.
Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, have long been known for their penchant for an expensive lifestyle and questionable use of public funds. Mrs. Netanyahu was convicted of misusing state funds after she reached a plea bargain settling allegations that she overspent some $100,000 of state money on lavish meals. She'd previously been indicted for graft, fraud and breach of trust.