Rejecting his indictment on a series of corruption charges and accused the prosecutors of staging an attempted coup, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said that the investigations against him were "infected" by ulterior motives, and questioned the timing of the development. An ashen-faced Netanyahu appeared on national TV late Thursday, claiming he was the victim of a grand conspiracy by police and prosecutors who had intimidated key witnesses into testifying against him.
Netanyahu also accused the prosecutors of staging an attempted coup and said that the announcement comes at the "most sensitive time politically since the establishment of the state."
"I dedicated my life for the state," Netanyahu said in a statement, as reported by The Times of Israel. "I fought for it, was injured for it and am very proud of that. But this is a sad day. One needs to be blind to not see that something bad is happening in the legal system."
This comes after Israel's Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit announced that Benjamin Netanyahu will be charged with criminal wrongdoing in three separate cases against him, including bribery in the far-reaching Bezeq corruption probe.
"The attorney general's decision on the prime minister was taken after a thorough and thorough examination of the numerous allegations raised by the prime minister's lawyers during the four days of the hearing in early October 2019," Mandelblit said in a statement.
All allegations were examined in-depth as part of a regular work process deployed over many hours in which the State Attorney's Office submitted in-depth reviews of hundreds of pages, relating to the allegations raised at the hearing," the statement added.
Israeli law does not require Netanyahu to step down from the post of Prime Minister if indicted and the trial could take two years.
If he is convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison or a fine for bribery charges alone, while fraud and breach of trust carry a prison sentence of up to three years.