Israeli Police Recommend Bribery Charges Against Netanyahu

Israeli Police Recommend Bribery Charges Against Netanyahu

February 13th, 2018

Wake me up when this monster is prosecuted for war crimes.

Via: Reuters:

Israeli police on Tuesday recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery, opening the way for what could be the biggest challenge yet to the right-wing leader’s political survival.

In a detailed statement, police named Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer and Israeli citizen, and Australian businessman James Packer, saying that for nearly a decade, from 2007 to 2016, they gave gifts that included champagne, cigars and jewelry to Netanyahu and his family.

In all, the merchandise was worth more than one million shekels ($280,000), the statement said. Any legal proceedings would likely focus on whether political favors were sought or granted.

Netanyahu’s lawyers said the presents were simply tokens of friendship.




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Nets Ignore New Bribery Indictment in Uranium One-Clinton Scandal

In an official statement on Friday, the Department of Justice announced the indictment of former Maryland executive Mark Lambert on “11 counts related to foreign bribery, fraud and money laundering scheme.” The indictment effectively tied Lambert to the Uranium One scandal because his alleged illicit activity involved JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), an arm of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation which now owns both TENEX and Uranium One. Despite the importance of the new indictment, the major three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) had been dead silent.

According to the DOJ press release, which was citing the indictment:

Lambert conspired with others at “Transportation Corporation A” to make corrupt and fraudulent bribery and kickback payments to offshore bank accounts associated with shell companies, at the direction of, and for the benefit of, a Russian official, Vadim Mikerin, in order to secure improper business advantages and obtain and retain business with TENEX.

All of which were allegedly in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The press release also noted that “Lambert’s former co-president, Daren Condrey, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA and commit wire fraud, and Vadim Mikerin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering involving violations of the FCPA.”

Where the major three networks failed, Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends didn’t. “An indictment in the Uranium One scandal, Mark Lambert the former head of a Maryland transit firm is accused of bribing Russians for nuclear contracts,” announced co-host Steve Doocy and he was introducing Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.



“Allegedly he was giving kickbacks to TENEX officials who were sharing proceeds with other Russians who were involved in the uranium industry here in the United States,” Fitton explained. “And the reason they were involved in the uranium industry here in the United States, and actually had expanded involvement, was because of the Uranium One-related decision-making made by the Obama administration.”

The Clintons fit into this puzzle because people with ties to the Russian uranium agency, as Fitton recalled, sent “tens of millions of dollars into the Clinton Foundation in order to make sure that the right decisions would be made by the State Department under Hillary Clinton that would allow them to expand their activities here in the United States.”

The Uranium One deal was ultimately approved by Clinton’s State Department and the Obama administration despite the fact that the FBI was well aware of such bribery activities by the Russians were underway. That was another story the networks failed to cover properly.

Interestingly, the indictment against Lambert came nearly a month after Attorney General Jeff Sessions order federal prosecutors to review the FBI’s handling of the Uranium One deal. “A senior law enforcement official who was briefed on the initial FBI investigation told NBC News there were allegations of corruption surrounding the process under which the U.S. government approved the sale. But no charges were filed,” NBC mentioned at the time.

It’s unclear if this indictment would be the first of many and it’s unclear just how far up the chain the FBI’s inaction on prosecutions went.

The relevant portion of the transcript is below:


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Fox News Channel
Fox and Friends
January 15, 2018
6:17:15 AM Eastern

STEVE DOOCY: An indictment in the Uranium One scandal, Mark Lambert the former head of a Maryland transit firm is accused of bribing Russians for nuclear contracts. So, what does it mean for the investigation? Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton has been — has forced opened many of the probes based on his Freedom of Information Act lawsuits and he joins us live from D.C. Good morning to you. Thanks for joining us on this holiday.

TOM FITTON: You’re welcome. How are you?

DOOCY: I’m doing okay. This Mark Lambert character who headed up this trucking firm in Maryland, money laundering, it sounds like conspiracy, wire fraud. Who is this guy?

FITTON: Well, he had contracts with the Russian-owned state uranium company essentially – TENEX and allegedly he was giving kickbacks to TENEX officials who were sharing proceeds with other Russians who were involved in the uranium industry here in the United States. And the reason they were involved in the uranium industry here in the United States, and actually had expanded involvement, was because of the Uranium One-related decision-making made by the Obama administration.

Made despite them knowing that this type of activity was going on. Sort of bribery kickback schemes that are endemic in Russia and Russia-related industries no matter where they are operating. And secondly, them sending tens of millions of dollars into the Clinton Foundation in order to make sure that the right decisions would be made by the State Department under Hillary Clinton that would allow them to expand their activities here in the United States.

DOOCY: And ultimately the deal was approved and that fast-forwards us to this point. A lot of members of Congress on the Republican side were upset that this was not thoroughly investigated and, in fact, Tom, I believe it was in December, the Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he encouraged the Department of Justice to reopen the case. Is this indictment a byproduct of that or do we know?

FITTON: We don’t know for sure but I don’t think it’s coincidental a few months after it’s reported that the fact that the Justice Department under Obama was hiding this in plain sight from the American people and certainly hiding key information from Congress. And then the Justice Department under Jeff Sessions responds: “Hey, we are going to take another look at this.” There’s a new indictment to follow up on an indictment that had been sitting out there or a conviction sitting out there since 2015.

DOOCY: Right.

FITTON: This is about, in the end, what steps they are going to take about what happened with Hillary Clinton. Now we got the bribery going on with the Russian transportation here in the United States. Got Uranium One side of it, is the Clinton gang going to be investigated by this Sessions Justice Department as aggressively as it ought to happen?


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The tide is turning: Big Pharma billionaire arrested, charged with conspiracy and bribery of doctors


(Natural News) I almost never thought I’d see the day when a Big Pharma founder and owner was finally arrested for running a criminal drug cartel, but that day has arrived.

“Federal authorities arrested the billionaire founder and owner of Insys Therapeutics Thursday on charges of bribing doctors and pain clinics into prescribing the company’s fentanyl product to their patients,” reports the Daily Caller News Foundation, one of the best sources of real journalism in America today.

Addictive drugs that include opioids, we now know, are claiming over 64,000 lives a year in the United States alone.

From the DCNF:

The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged John Kapoor, 74, and seven other current and former executives at the pharmaceutical company with racketeering for a leading a national conspiracy through bribery and fraud to coerce the illegal distribution of the company’s fentanyl spray, which is intended for use as a pain killer by cancer patients. The company’s stock prices fell more than 20 percent following the arrests, according to the New York Post.

Kapoor stepped down as the company’s CEO in January amid ongoing federal probes into their Subsys product, a pain-relieving spray that contains fentanyl, a highly-addictive synthetic opioid. Fentanyl is more than 50 times stronger than morphine, and ingesting just two milligrams is enough to cause an adult to fatally overdose.

The series of arrests came just hours after President Donald Trump officially declared the country’s opioid epidemic a national emergency. Drug overdoses led to 64,070 deaths in 2016, which is more than the amount of American lives lost in the entire Vietnam War.

As the opioid crisis has developed, more and more states have begun holding doctors and opioid manufacturers accountable for over-prescribing and over-producing the highly-addictive painkillers.

“We will be bringing some major lawsuits against people and companies that are hurting our people,” Trump said Thursday. He also spoke about a program similar to Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” initiative.

“More than 20,000 Americans died of synthetic opioid overdoses last year, and millions are addicted to opioids. And yet some medical professionals would rather take advantage of the addicts than try to help them,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “This Justice Department will not tolerate this.  We will hold accountable anyone – from street dealers to corporate executives — who illegally contributes to this nationwide epidemic.  And under the leadership of President Trump, we are fully committed to defeating this threat to the American people.

President Trump is bringing the war to Big Pharma’s doorstep

Under President Trump, who continues to fight to end the drug cartels and health care monopolies that are destroying this nation, we may see more and more drug companies finally facing the legal scrutiny they deserve for engaging in the mass medical murder of Americans with dangerous, deadly drugs.

And then there’s the question of vaccines, the autism cover-up and the criminal racket run by the CDC, Big Pharma and the lying mainstream media. When that medical fraud and corruption scandal blows sky-high, we may see dozens of pharmaceutical officials going to prison.


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Fiery Closing Arguments in Menendez Bribery Trial Draw Yawns from Nets

This is what bribery looks like,” declared federal prosecutor J.P. Cooney on Thursday was the closing arguments in the long-running corruption trial of Democratic New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. The trial had seen contentious exchanges between the defense and the judge, claims of a lack of impartiality, and requests for the case to be thrown and for a mistrial to be declared. The closing arguments themselves were just as fiery, but just as with the rest of the trial, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) pretended it didn’t happen.

Since day one, the network evening news shows have not touched the story at. As the Media Research Center’s Mike Ciandella recently reported about the network’s preference for Robert Mueller indictments over Menendez:

But the networks aren’t opposed to covering political scandals – as long as the scandal doesn’t involve their political allies. On the night of October 30 alone, these three evening news broadcasts spent a total of 33 minutes and 9 seconds combined covering the indictments handed out by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. These indictments are obviously news, but the fact that the networks could spend more than half an hour in one night on this story and not a single second in nearly two months on Menendez shows a blatant bias.

And a CNN report following the day in court showed just how appealing the story should be for them to cover. “Prosecutors accuse Menendez of pressuring high-level officials in the Obama administration and other career diplomats to help Melgen resolve his business disputes in exchange for political contributions,” Laura Jarrett wrote. “A luxurious hotel suite at the Park Hyatt in Paris, and free rides on Melgen’s private jet that Menendez failed to report on his Senate disclosure form.

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In his argument to the jury on Thursday, federal prosecutor J.P. Cooney described Menendez and the “personal U.S. Senator” of Dr. Salomon Melgen, the Florida eye doctors alleged to be the financier of the bribery scheme. “Robert Menendez may have been elected to represent New Jersey, but Robert Menendez chose instead to represent the wealthy doctor from Florida,” he said. “This is what bribery looks like.

Year after year, form after form, lie after lie, Sen. Menendez was determined to hide all the evidence. He was determined to stop this day — the day a jury in the court of law would get to determine the evidence and decide the truth,” Cooney added.

And from Menendez’s defense attorney, Kirk Ogrosky came accusations of lying directed at the prosecution. “They’re lying to you, they’re making up a story and trying to get the evidence to fit their story,” he asserted. “Think about what these prosecutors have done, it’s actually pretty terrifying.

They have no evidence of a bribe, no evidence of a corrupt agreement, no evidence of a conspiracy, no witness, no document, no email, no text message, no nothing,” Ogrosky explained to the jury.

Menendez was the first sitting U.S. senator to be in a corruption trial since the 1980’s and the trial proceedings had the hallmarks of a juicy must see courtroom drama, but the liberal networks refused to highlight any corruption accusations against their political allies. And in recent days they’ve proved they’re more interested in speculating about Trump legal future and not that of the Senator in the corruption trial.

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Georgia Police Sergeant Nathan VanBuren Convicted of Bribery and Fraud

A jury has convicted a former Cumming Police Sergeant of accepting bribes and computer fraud.

Nathan VanBuren, 35, responded to a 911 call to a home where he arrested a citizen. In July and August of 2015, it was discovered that VanBuren had additional communications with the citizen he arrested.

During those communications, VanBuren asked the citizen for a loan under the lie that his wages were being garnished and he had incurred financial debt due to his son’s medical and surgical expenses when in fact none of those things were true.

While cooperating with law enforcement, the citizen provided VanBuren with $5,000 in response to his repeated requests for money. VanBuren also used $1,000 in order to unlawfully access a law enforcement database and provided the results of a search for that citizen, according to the court.

VanBuren resigned before he was terminated.

“VanBuren broke the very laws he swore to uphold and enforce,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.

“Police officers are afforded respect, and are expected to model integrity and honesty. This former officer undermined the hard work of other officers who serve, as well as the community’s trust and respect for the police.”

“The FBI is charged with the unfortunate but necessary task of investigating police misconduct, to include corruption. That was the case with the allegations received involving then Cumming Police Sgt. VanBuren, which resulted in his federal indictment and today’s convictions via jury trial. The FBI continues to ask the public to do its part by reporting all allegations of public corruption, to include those involving law enforcement, to their nearest FBI field office for prompt action,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Atlanta Field Office.

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DOJ: Billionaire Pharma Owner Fueled the Opioid Epidemic with Bribery Scheme

DOJ: Billionaire Pharma Owner Fueled the Opioid Epidemic with Bribery Scheme

October 29th, 2017

Via: Ars Technica:

The billionaire founder and majority owner of Insys Therapeutics was arrested Thursday on racketeering and fraud charges for an alleged nationwide scheme to push an extremely potent opioid drug containing fentanyl onto patients.

According to the Department of Justice, John Kapoor, 74, of Phoenix, Arizona, used bribes, kickbacks, and other fraudulent practices to get doctors to overprescribe the fentanyl drug, called Subsys. Fentanyl is a highly addictive synthetic opioid that can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine. As such, Subsys is only intended to treat severe pain in cancer patients. But according to the DOJ, many patients receiving Subsys didn’t have cancer.

The DOJ alleges that Kapoor, along with six former executives at Insys, paid doctors and pain clinics in various states to write “large numbers of prescriptions.� The department also alleges that Insys used fraudulent means to get health insurance providers to cover the harmful prescriptions.




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PROFIT at any cost: Big Pharma’s bribery and kickback schemes led to deaths of U.S. soldiers

Image: PROFIT at any cost: Big Pharma’s bribery and kickback schemes led to deaths of U.S. soldiers

(Natural News)
The families of U.S. troops who have been killed or injured while fighting overseas in Iraq have filed a lawsuit against multiple U.S. and European pharmaceutical and medical supply companies after accusing the corporations of knowingly financing the Mahdi Army, an anti-American militia, through a series of bribes and kickbacks.

The lawsuit, which was filed against some of the biggest and most well-known names in the industry – including GE Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Roche Holdings – claims that the corporations sent financial aid to Iraq’s Ministry of Health through their local agents. Allegedly, these funds were then used by officials at the ministry to assist the militia as they carried out attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq.

Needless to say, if the accusations made in the lawsuit really are true, then it would be one of the most egregious acts ever committed by pharmaceutical companies to date, and would even border on treason.

The money was sent in the form of “commissions” or “free goods,” and at times amounted to as much as 20 percent of the total value of a contract with ministry officials. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants included specific language in their contracts that promised Iraq’s Ministry of Health after-sales support and other services related to the product that was sold to them.

“In reality, such services were illusory and functioned merely to create a slush fund the local agents could use to pass on ‘commissions to corrupt (ministry) officials,’” the lawsuit states.

While the lawsuit claims that the money that was sent from these pharmaceutical companies to Iraq’s Ministry of Health violated the U.S. anti-terrorism act, Pfizer released a statement explaining that the company “categorically denies any wrongdoing.” In addition, GE said that they were “thoroughly reviewing the allegations,” and a spokeswoman for Roche declined to comment because the company had yet to be officially served with the lawsuit. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson also refused to comment on the matter.

“Defendants did not intend for the ‘free goods’ provided to Kadima (health ministry’s pharmaceutical importing agency) to serve any legitimate charitable or medicinal purpose,” the lawsuit alleges. “It was widely understood in Iraq that MOH (Ministry of Health) operated more like a terrorist organization than a legitimate health entity, and no rational company would have viewed MOH as a suitable object for charity.”

Back in 2007, the global intelligence company Stratfor reported that U.S. led forces in Iraq had arrested the deputy health minister after he was accused of “selling health services and equipment in return for millions of dollars that he later funneled to Shiite militias.”

Unfortunately, this is hardly the first time that global brands have engaged in backdoor deals and shady transactions in exchange for special privileges from and relationships with politicians and lawmakers. In August, for example, Lee Jae-yong of Samsung was sentenced to five years in prison after it was revealed that he had paid almost $8 million in bribes to win over the support of South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the midst of ongoing corporate negotiations. In 2012, Walmart was accused of sending millions of dollars to the Mexican government in hopes of speeding up construction of their stores there, an issue that the company is still dealing with to this day.

Indeed, while these allegations against these pharmaceutical companies are certainly serious and warrant further investigation, it would be inaccurate to say that this sort of thing is rare and uncommon.

Attorneys working for law firms of Sparacino & Andreson and Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick stated that they have spent thousands of hours so far reviewing transactions that were made between the pharmaceutical companies in question and the Iraqi Ministry of Health between the years 2004 and 2013.

Ami Neiberger-Miller, whose 22-year-old brother was killed in a roadside bomb allegedly planted by the Mahdi Army in Baghdad back in 2007, explained that she wants the companies to be held accountable for providing them with financial aid. “I had always pictured my brother’s killers as faceless,” she said. “I wouldn’t have thought U.S. companies would have anything to do with his death. Those funds went directly from those companies to terrorists who had a mission to kill U.S. troops like my brother. They should be held accountable. Companies should know what is done in their name.” (Related: The US government admits that Agent Orange that was sprayed on GMO farms poisoned troops.)

Whether its U.S. corporations sending money to terrorists in Iraq, or even the disastrous and poorly run Department of Veterans Affairs, something needs to be done to improve the way veterans and military individuals are treated in this country. It’s sad, but far too often these brave men and women don’t receive the amount of respect and care that they deserve, and if U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies really did put our troops in danger for money, then it really is a sad day in America.

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FBI Uncovered Russian Bribery Plot Before Obama Administration Approved Controversial Nuclear Deal with Moscow

FBI Uncovered Russian Bribery Plot Before Obama Administration Approved Controversial Nuclear Deal with Moscow

October 17th, 2017

Via: The Hill:

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials� in Russia who “shared the proceeds� from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefitting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

When this sale was used by Trump on the campaign trail last year, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman said she was not involved in the committee review and noted the State Department official who handled it said she “never intervened … on any [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] matter.â€�

In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,� a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.

The Obama administration’s decision to approve Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One has been a source of political controversy since 2015.

That’s when conservative author Peter Schweitzer and The New York Times documented how Bill Clinton collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees and his charitable foundation collected millions in donations from parties interested in the deal while Hillary Clinton presided on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their actions at the time, insisting there was no evidence that any Russians or donors engaged in wrongdoing and there was no national security reason for any member of the committee to oppose the Uranium One deal.

But FBI, Energy Department and court documents reviewed by The Hill show the FBI in fact had gathered substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.

Then-Attorney General Eric Holder was among the Obama administration officials joining Hillary Clinton on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States at the time the Uranium One deal was approved. Multiple current and former government officials told The Hill they did not know whether the FBI or DOJ ever alerted committee members to the criminal activity they uncovered.

Spokesmen for Holder and Clinton did not return calls seeking comment. The Justice Department also didn’t comment.




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Netanyahu under Police Investigation for Power Abuse and Bribery


The Israeli police are set to interrogate the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over multiple abuses of power charges. He is accused of bribery and media manipulation. Israeli analyst Avraham Diskin told Sputnik what the consequences of such an investigation could be for the leader and his country.

“This to me looks like a new phase of an old investigation. A number of times before, Netanyahu was directly investigated for several hours by the police, so it is just another round of quite an old story,” said professor Avraham Diskin, an Israeli political analyst at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

According to the analyst, from a legal point of view, Netanyahu doesn’t have to step down as long as he is not convicted by the court. However, the precedence is that once there is an indictment, politicians of a lower degree are pushed by the court to resign.

“Netanyahu and his lawyers said that he is going to follow the law and he is not going to resign under indictment, and if there is an indictment it’s a matter of years,” Diskin said.

Talking about the political sphere the analyst said that almost everybody in his current government is quite satisfied with Netanyahu.

“I don’t know if there are any criminal offences and I don’t know how the court is going to behave, but the government is not very enthusiastic of getting rid of Netanyahu yet,” he said.

However, if Netanyahu steps down, “there would be an earthquake,” Diskin said.

It is possible that there would be new elections and “judgment of the public, but right now it doesn’t look like an alternative government will likely be formed,” the analyst added.

He further spoke about how the relations between the US and Israel would develop in light of the current events.

“Trump is a problematic personality but he is by far pro Israeli compared to the previous administration. We also have to remember the long history of the personal relationship between Netanyahu and Trump, so all in all the relations between the US and Israel are now better than they were before,” Diskin said.

Netanyahu stands accused of two major charges alleging the abuse of the power of office.

In “Case 1,000,” Israeli billionaire Arnon Milchan gave Netanyahu lavish gifts in an alleged bribery scandal. The second charge, dubbed “Case 2,000,” states that Netanyahu promised to help increase the readership of Israel’s second-largest newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, in exchange for the publication easing up on its historically critical coverage of the prime minister.

Netanyahu has rejected allegations of wrongdoing, stating the “witch hunt” won’t bear fruit, according to The Jerusalem Post. “It will fail for this simple reason: There will be nothing because there was nothing,” he said.



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Nets Ignore ‘Testy’ First Day of Court in Menendez Bribery Trial

Fox News Channel
Special Report
September 6, 2017
6:29:15 PM Eastern

BRET BAIER: New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez has he will be vindicated in his corruption trial that began today. Menendez is accused of taking bribes from and doing favors for a Florida doctor. The trial has also serious ramifications for the U.S. Senate and Senate math for the leadership. Correspondent David Lee Miller is in Newark, New Jersey tonight.

[Cuts to video]

BOB MENENDEZ: Never, not once, not once have I dishonored my public office.

DAVID LEE MILLER: New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez on trial for bribery was on the verge of tears as he proclaimed his innocence outside federal court in Newark.

MENENDEZ: I appreciate my family being here, my son and daughter, being here today. I appreciate my supporters.

MILLER: He faces a dozen criminal charges, accused of accepting more than $700,000 in campaign related cash and thousands of dollars in free hotel rooms and air travel from a longtime friend, Doctor Solomon Melgen.

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During opening statements, the prosecution told the jury that is part of the bribery scheme, Menendez sent the doctor an email asking him to provide a $1500 a night Paris hotel room with a limestone bath and a view of the courtyard. Prosecutors say Menendez in exchange helped the doctor and multimillion dollar business deals and allegedly tried to get visas for the doctor’s foreign girlfriends.

Both Melgen, who has a previous conviction for Medicare fraud, and Menendez are on trial. But there is more at stake. The trial could change the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. The judge rejected a motion by Menendez to change the trial schedule to allow him to attend crucial votes such as health care.

In a testy exchange, Menendez’s attorney accused the judge of disparaging the defense in his written opinion. At one point the judge told Menendez’s lawyer, quote: “Shut up for a moment, if you don’t mind.”

Menendez says he will exercise his constitutional right to attend the trial but acknowledged the conflict he faces if Democrats need his vote in the Senate.


[Cuts back to live]

MILLER: During opening statements, Menendez’s lawyer told jurors “a single word can cut through a mountain of evidence. That word: Friendship.” The defense says it isn’t a case of bribery, just one friend helping out another.

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