Oct 25, 8:37 AM EDT

Israel court says lawmaker Hazan did drugs as casino manager

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Conflict in the Middle East

JERUSALEM (AP) -- An Israeli court has ruled that a lawmaker from the ruling Likud party had used hard drugs when he ran a casino in Bulgaria, before entering politics.

Tuesday's ruling marks another blow to the already dubious reputation of Oren Hazan, who was elected last year and within months faced accusations of physically assaulting a public official, sexually harassing women and soliciting prostitutes.

Hazan sued Amit Segal, reporter for Israel's Channel 2 TV, for defamation over an investigative piece that included testimony on Hazan having allegedly consumed crystal meth while managing the Bulgarian casino.

In the ruling, the court found the reporter had acted in good faith and reported his story honestly. Nevertheless, it awarded Hazan $10,000 in damages for another, unsubstantiated Channel 2 report that Hazan had also sold drugs.

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