Israel's attorney general has filed a formal indictment in court against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The indictment comes hours before he was set to meet with President Donald Trump to unveil the U.S.'s Middle East peace plan.
Netanyahu withdrew his request for immunity from prosecution Tuesday hours before parliamentary proceedings to discuss the request were to begin. In a statement issued on his official Facebook page, Netanyahu said he “decided not to let this dirty game continue."
Israel's parliament, known as the Knesset, was set to convene Tuesday. Lawmakers were to discuss the formation of a committee to debate the prime minister's immunity request. Netanyahu was indicted on counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery in November in three separate cases. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Shortly after his withdrawal of the immunity bid, Attorney General Avichai mandelblit submitted the indictment in Jerusalem District Court. The charges are the first ever against a sitting Israeli prime minister, and capped a three year investigation.
“A day in which the attorney general decides to serve an indictment against a seated prime minister for serious crimes of corrupt governance is a heavy and sad day, for the Israeli public and for me personally," Mandelblit, who was appointed by Netanyahu, told reporters in November.
The indictment comes as Netanyahu prepares for the March 2 parliamentary elections — the third in less than a year. His chief political opponent, Genny Gantz, said in a statement to the Associated Press “Netanyahu is going to trial -- we must go forward.”
“Nobody could run a country and simultaneously manage three serious criminal charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust,” Gantz added