Netanyahu's lawyer dies, throwing corruption case into uncertainty
The long-time lawyer of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, Yaakov Weinroth, has died aged 71.
Weinroth, one of Israel's leading lawyers, died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. He represented a series of top politicians in some of the country's most well-known legal cases. His death has stirred speculation around the corruption probe currently facing Netanyahu.
A rabbi turned lawyer, Weinroth has been most identified with representing Netanyahu in his various legal cases. Israeli police have recommended indicting Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases. His wife is also standing trial for alleged fraud.
With Weinroth's death coming so soon after the start of Sara Netanyahu's fraud trial, it has brought an extent of insecurity to the family's defence case.
His paramount experience, skills and strong relationships with judges and top legal officials like Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit had put the Netanyahu family at an advantage. The loss of a judge who shepherded the cases against the prime minister from the beginning has also been perceived as a strategic blow to the Netanyahus.
"My wife and I are saddened about the passing of our loved one Jacob Weinroth," Netanyahu tweeted on Tuesday. "Jacob was miraculous in his personality, his wisdom, his intellect, his sense of justice and his loyalty to his people. It is a great loss to his family, his acquaintances and cherished, and it is a huge loss to the world of Israeli law."
Weinroth leaves behind a wife and six children.