TEL AVIV—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formally pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption on Monday, setting the stage for a lengthy legal fight to determine the political fate of the country’s longest-serving leader.
In his second appearance in the Jerusalem courtroom since the trial began in May, Mr. Netanyahu referred to his defense team’s submission to the court denying any wrongdoing. He took notes on a yellow notepad before leaving the hearing after about 20 minutes. He wore a mask due to coronavirus restrictions and sanitized his hands regularly.
The charges center on allegations that Mr. Netanyahu accepted expensive gifts from wealthy businessmen in exchange for official favors and offered two media moguls regulatory and financial benefits in exchange for positive press coverage.
Mr. Netanyahu faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of bribery, the most serious charge.
Israeli prosecutors have more than 300 witnesses, including three state witnesses who are former close associates of Mr. Netanyahu. They have agreed to testify against him in exchange for ameliorating their own legal troubles.