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Former state prosecutor blasts ‘conspiracy theories’ after attacks from Likud

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Former state attorney Shai Nitzan responded on Friday to the release of old recordings in which Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is heard bashing him over his role in a past military scandal, and ensuing attacks from allies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Nitzan rejected unfounded allegations that he had blackmailed Mandelblit into charging Netanyahu with corruption, repeatedly calling the accusations “baseless” and “unrealistic,” in interviews with channels 12 and 13 in his first public appearances since the release of the recordings.

In the recordings, which date to 2015 and 2016, Mandelblit calls Nitzan a “jerk” for failing to clear him of wrongdoing in the 2010 Harpaz affair. The conversations took place between Mandelblit, who was then cabinet secretary, and the head of the Israel Bar Association at the time, Efi Nave.

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In the Harpaz affair, Mandelblit, who at the time was military advocate general, the army’s top legal officer, was briefly suspected of having helped military brass cover up a smear campaign.

The recordings caused an uproar in Netanyahu’s Likud party, with lawmakers claiming it proved Nitzan had Mandelblit by the throat, and asserting he had forced the attorney general to indict Netanyahu in his three criminal cases — a claim Mandelblit vociferously rejected. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, left, and outgoing state prosecutor Shai Nitzan attend a farewell ceremony held for Nitzan in Jerusalem, on December 18, 2019. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

In the Friday interview with Channel 12, which released the tapes on Tuesday, Nitzan said the claims against him were absurd and unfounded.

He said that himself, Mandelblit and former Israel Police commissioner Roni Alsheich had long been in the public eye before the charges against Netanyahu. Mandelblit indicted the premier on corruption charges earlier this year, and Nitzan was another key figure in the case. As Israel’s top cop, Alsheich oversaw the police investigations into Netanyahu.........

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