Click for St. Louis, Missouri Forecast

// a href = ./ // St Louis News, Weather, Sports, The Big 550 AM, St Louis Traffic, Breaking News in St Louis

 
 
 

Ex-Israeli foreign minister cleared in graft trial

Rate this item
(0 votes)
FILE - In this Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 file photo, Israel's hard-line former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman arrives at a Jerusalem court for the opening hearing of his trial on charges of fraud and breach of trust. Israel's political system is holding its collective breath ahead of Wednesday’s verdict in the graft trial of Lieberman. FILE - In this Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 file photo, Israel's hard-line former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman arrives at a Jerusalem court for the opening hearing of his trial on charges of fraud and breach of trust. Israel's political system is holding its collective breath ahead of Wednesday’s verdict in the graft trial of Lieberman. Image source: Associated Press

   JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli court on Wednesday found former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman innocent of all charges in a graft trial, clearing the way for the powerful hard-line politician to return to his post as the nation's top diplomat.

   The trial had threatened to reshape the makeup of the government. But in the end, Lieberman was handed a resounding victory that instantly raises his clout in a bitterly divided coalition.

   The verdict was delivered inside a closed courtroom, and minutes later, a jubilant Lieberman appeared outside.

   "This chapter is behind me. And I am focusing on the challenges ahead, and there are plenty of challenges," he said, claiming he had been persecuted by overzealous prosecutors for 17 years.

   Lieberman, an ally and sometime rival to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has long been dogged by allegations of corruption. This case was the first time he had been accused of criminal behavior.

   Lieberman was charged with fraud and breach of trust for allegedly trying to advance the career of a former diplomat who relayed information to him about a separate criminal investigation into Lieberman's business dealings.

   Prosecutors said they respected the court's decision and would study it before deciding whether to appeal.

   Lieberman was forced to step down as foreign minister before parliamentary elections early this year to face the charges.

   Speaking to reporters after Wednesday's verdict, Lieberman refused to say whether he would return to the post.

   But he is widely expected to do so. Since the January election, Netanyahu has left the job open, saying he would only fill it after the verdict in Lieberman's case.

  Lieberman, who was born in the former Soviet republic of Moldova, is one of the most polarizing figures in Israeli politics. With a tough-talking message that has questioned the loyalty of Israel's Arab minority, criticized the Palestinians and confronted Israel's foreign critics, he has at times alienated Israel's allies while becoming an influential voice at home.

   During his stint as foreign minister, he pushed a series of legislative proposals that critics said were discriminatory against Israel's Arab minority, including a failed attempt to require Israelis to sign a loyalty oath or have their citizenship revoked. He also embarrassed Netanyahu by expressing contrary views to the government, including skepticism over the odds of reaching peace with the Palestinians.

   Before the January election, Lieberman led his nationalist Yisrael Beitenu into a merger with Netanyahu's Likud Party. But the alliance, meant to solidify a victory by Israel's hardline bloc, backfired and the combined list fared poorly.

   Lieberman is considering whether to break up the alliance. Such a move could increase his influence since he could potentially rob Netanyahu of his parliamentary majority.

Latest News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
Prev Next
Health registry could be created under bill on Nixon's desl

Health registry could be created under bill on Nixon's …

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - County officials could compile lists of residents with health problems under a Missouri bill intended to identify people in need of help during disast...

Texas man charged for hitting cyclist while driving dru…

ST. CHARLES, MO (AP) – A Texas man faces second-degree assault charges after allegedly striking a bicyclist while driving drunk.   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch repor...

Rauner skips GOP event over pastor's comments

Rauner skips GOP event over pastor's comments

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) - GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur) isn't attending a Republican dinner in Moline because he says he disagrees with past statements from a pa...

Mizzou journalism school trying to roll out journalism drones again

Mizzou journalism school trying to roll out journalism …

COLUMBIA, MO (AP) – The University of Missouri journalism school has modified its classroom use of aerial drones as a legal challenge to the FAA ban on commercial use of the fly...

Lawmakers approve changes to Missouri criminal code

Lawmakers approve changes to Missouri criminal code

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers gave final approval to the first comprehensive rewrite of the state's criminal laws in decades.   The House and Senate...

Craig Michael Wood pleads not guilty

Craig Michael Wood pleads not guilty

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A southwest Missouri youth football coach accused of kidnapping, raping and killing a 10-year-old girl has pleaded not guilty   Forty-six-ye...

© 2013 KTRS All Rights Reserved