Legal Memorandum/Brief submitted to
Israeli Attorney General

Legal Memorandum/Brief and Comparative Legal Analysis drafted by Nathan Lewin, Esq. with Alan Dershowitz, Esq., Richard D. Heideman, Esq., Professor Avi Bell and Joseph Tipograph, Esq. and submitted to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, State of Israel with regard to issues relating to the claims of bribery and the media.

Associate Counsel Team

Nathan Lewin, Esq.

Alan Dershowitz, Esq.

Richard D. Heideman, Esq.

Professor Avi Bell

Joseph Tipograph, Esq.


I/We have read the Legal Memorandum/Brief and Comparative Legal Analysis filed by Lewin, Dershowitz, Heideman, Bell and Tipograph, and are of the opinion that viewing positive media coverage as a sufficient “thing of value” to serve as the basis of a criminal charge of bribery threatens to chill protected speech, and constitutes a danger to freedom of speech, freedom of the press and democracy more generally. We are unaware of any precedent in the democratic world in which owners or members of the press have been convicted of bribery for the act of giving positive coverage in expectation of an official act being carried out in exchange.

  • Larry  Alexander, Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, University of San Diego
  • Jeremy Rabkin, Professor of Law, George Mason University
  • Pascal Markowitz, Attorney at the Paris Bar
  • Joel T. Griffith, Esq. DC Chair, Young Jewish Conservatives
  • Marc Greendorfer, President, Zachor Legal Institute
  • Arthur F. Fergenson, Senior Counsel, Ansa Assuncao LLP
  • F.R. Jenkins, Esq., Meridian 361 International Law Group
  • Eugene Kontorovich, Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School
  • David Schoen, Attorney-at-Law
  • Harvey A. Silverglate, lawyer and writer, of counsel to Boston’s Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP.

Relevant Articles

(March 18, 2020 by Edwin Black / JewishPress) In a living, breathing democracy, the media constitute that necessary permeable interface between the people and those who govern. The media is called upon to exercise a sevenfold mandate: to question, to accuse, to defend, to remember, to predict, to inform and to entertain.

Those who know the media know it is controlled by both scoundrels and saints, and every permutation in between. Like society itself, the media is imperfect and fallible.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu © CNN
(November 18, 2019 by Alex Traimen / JNS) Dershowitz is one of the members of a high-profile legal team that submitted a comprehensive legal brief to Mandelblit arguing that allowing favorable media coverage to be considered bribery represents a “dangerous threat” that will “cripple freedom of the press, suppress free speech and impair democratic political purposes.”
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit (R) during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem (photo credit: MENAHEM KAHANA / REUTERS)
(November 13, 2019 / By Nathan Lewin, Avi Bell, Richard Heideman, Joseph Tipograph, Alan Dershowitz / JPost) In the legal brief we filed with Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit regarding the allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we argued that a media owner does not bribe a public official if he promises or provides favorable publicity. No modern civilized jurisdiction has ever – or would ever – convict an official of a crime for requesting favorable publicity, or deem a decision by such an official in exchange for publicity to be acceptance of a criminal bribe. If Israel now prosecutes its prime minister on such a novel legal theory, it will stand in isolation among modern civilized societies that revere free speech and a free press.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu © Amir Cohen © Reuters
(October 29, 2019 / Alex Traiman / JNS) Law professor Avi Bell, a member of the legal team that submitted a brief in defense of the Israeli premier during pre-indictment hearings, talks with JNS about the potential danger the cases against Benjamin Netanyahu pose to Israel’s democracy.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
(October 27, 2019 / Caroline B. Glick / The Jewish Press) [Nathan Lewin and Avi Bell] presented points they made in a brief co-authored with Alan Dershowitz, Richard Heideman, and Joseph Tipograph. The brief focuses on the question at the heart of the two main investigations: Is it permissible to define a news organization’s offer to cover a politician favorably a form of bribery?
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit (The Jewish Pres)
(October 22, 2019 / Caroline B. Glick / JNS) During the final half hour of Netanyahu’s hearing, Mandelblit approved his attorneys’ request to permit two senior American jurists – legendary litigator Nathan Lewin and Professor Avi Bell from University of San Diego and Bar Ilan University law schools address him. The two presented the main points raised in a brief they authored with their colleagues Prof. Alan Dershowitz and attorneys Richard Heideman and Joseph Tipograph. Netanyahu’s lawyers submitted their brief to Mandelblit the previous week.
Israelis demonstrate in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the house of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ahead of his hearing on corruption cases, Oct. 5, 2019. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.