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Israel’s Netanyahu Pleads Not Guilty as Corruption Trial Resumes

JERUSALEM—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pleaded not guilty on Feb. 8 as his trial on corruption charges resumed in a Jerusalem courtroom, just weeks before national elections in which he hopes to extend his 12-year rule. Netanyahu was indicted last year for fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes in three separate cases. In recent months, Israelis have held weekly protests calling on him to resign over the charges and criticizing his government’s response to the coronavirus crisis. Protesters gathered outside the courthouse could be heard inside the room where the hearing was being held. He stands accused of accepting lavish gifts from wealthy friends and offering to grant favors to powerful media moguls in exchange for favorable coverage of him and his family. The latest hearing was postponed last month due to lockdown restrictions on public gatherings. Israel’s longest-serving leader is also the first sitting prime minister to go on …

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