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Court prepares to issue verdict in Lieberman case

Nov. 4, 2013 at 11:01 AM   |   Comments

JERUSALEM, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- A ruling by an Israeli court could alter the political fate of former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman and that of his party, Israeli analysts say.

The Jerusalem Magistrates Court says it will issue a verdict Wednesday on whether Lieberman is guilty of fraud and breach of trust.

Lieberman, 55, is charged with awarding diplomat Zeev Ben Aryeh with a ambassadorship to Latvia after Aryeh told him police were investigating him.

If Lieberman is convicted and found guilty of "moral turpitude," he would be banned for ever holding public office and forced to resign from his seat in the Knesset., Israeli broadcaster Arutz Sheva reported Monday.

While maintaining his innocence, Lieberman has said he will leave politics if he is convicted.

If he receives a jail sentence of more than three months, Lieberman would be barred from politics for seven years.

If he is convicted, but there is no finding of moral turpitude, he could retain his cabinet post, but would have to step down from parliament.

If acquitted, and the attorney general does not appeal, he would be able to return to his ministerial post he left 10 months ago. The popularity of the political party he founded, Yisrael Beiteinu, would also likely see a boost after losing support in the last election.

An alliance between Beiteinu and the ruling Likud party has a narrow 31-member majority in the 120-seat Knesset.

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