First time in modern history a leader is on trial for positive media coverage, Dershowitz says

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Professor Alan Dershowitz (AP / J. Scott Applewhite)

“This is the first time in the history of any modern country that a man is being prosecuted for trying to gain positive media coverage,” Dershowitz said.

Professor Alan Dershowitz, a lawyer who has been called “The Jewish State’s lead attorney in the court of public opinion,” believes a trial against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a threat to democracy.

“Netanyahu’s trial poses a great danger to democracy and the rule of law,” Dershowitz told Army Radio on Sunday. “This is the first time in the history of any modern country that a man is being prosecuted for trying to gain positive media coverage.”

“I don’t blame the prime minister for defending himself aggressively. He has to make a decision as to whether it is his tactical advantage or disadvantage. But that’s a tactical decision. Morally, he’s entitled to defend himself,” he said.

Dershowitz also expressed his disdain for the harsh attacks being levied upon Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, the man responsible for taking Netanyahu to trial.

“It’s a terrible thing to call the attorney general a criminal; he’s not. He is a decent person with which I disagree,” Dershowitz said.

“In a democracy, there’s a place for criticism against those who make mistakes, but you can’t threaten them or call them criminal,” he said.

Dershowitz has long advocated the charges against Netanyahu are unfounded and a threat to democracy.

In a letter addressed to Israeli Attorney-General Avichai Mandleblit prior to Netanyahu’s indictment, Dershowitz said all three charges against the prime minister in cases dubbed 1000, 2000, and 4000 are dubious at best.

In Case 1000, Netanyahu is accused of accepting cigars and champagne from two billionaires in exchange for gifts.

According to Dershowitz, it’s not known what the billionaires received in return for their gifts, and additionally, the law against receiving an excessive amount of gifts is not clear as to what is considered too many.

In Cases 2000 and 4000, Netanyahu is said to have negotiated deals for more favorable news coverage of himself.

According to Dershowitz, the charges are be based on “speculation concerning the state of mind of the participants.”

“The relationship between politics and the media – and between politicians and publishers – is too nuanced, subtle and complex to be subject to the heavy hand of criminal law,” Dershowitz wrote.

(World Israel News).

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