Israel PM seeks immunity, buying time until after vote

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Israel, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. (Abir Sultan /Pool photo via AP)

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will ask parliament to grant him immunity from corruption charges, a step that is expected to delay his trial for months.

The step Wednesday most likely puts the trial on hold until after elections in March, when he hopes to win a majority coalition that will shield him from prosecution.

The announcement essentially turns the upcoming election campaign into a referendum on whether Netanyahu should be granted immunity and remain in office or step down to stand trial.

A recent poll indicated that a majority of Israelis oppose giving him immunity.

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