Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Attorneys for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday before a pre-indictment hearing they were confident that corruption charges against him will eventually be dropped.
The hearing comes as Netanyahu tries to form a coalition government after national elections last month, Israel's second of the year, in which the prime minister's Likud Party found itself in a dead heat with the centrist Blue and White Party, led by Benny Gantz.
"The prime minister is not above the law, but neither is he below it," Netanyahu attorney Ram Caspi said before the start of the four-day hearing Wednesday, adding that he believed there is a "solid foundation for a change of course."
In February, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced plans to indict Netanyahu on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges, pending a hearing on the separate cases.
Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israel's history, has denied the charges, saying the accusations are part of a political witch hunt by his enemies.
In the meantime, the Likud and Blue and White parties called off unity government talks that were set for Wednesday. Gantz, who once served as Army chief of staff, said he opposes forming a coalition government with Netanyahu personally instead of his party.
Gantz's party won 33 seats in last month's election to 32 for Netanyahu's. The Likud Party, though, took a slight lead when smaller supporting parties were added to the total.