Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday that he will seek parliamentary immunity in three corruption cases.
Netanyahu claims he deserves parliament’s protection because the charges are politically motivated. The trial cannot begin once an immunity request is announced, so the proceedings could be delayed for months, Reuters reported.
The prime minister’s announcement was made four hours before his deadline for an application was set to expire.
Reuters notes that the parliament is not expected to back Netanyahu’s request with a majority of votes before the March 2 election. The prime minister has strived to get majority support in parliament to form a government after elections, but failed to do so in April and September.
Netanyahu was charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust for exchanging state favors to media barons for gifts and positive news coverage, making history as the first current leader of Israel to face criminal charges.
The prime minister maintains he did nothing wrong and says the media and left are using this to try to remove him as the leader.