Israel's attorney general on Thursday recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bribery and breach of trust in a series of corruption cases, a momentous move that shook up Israel's election campaign and could spell the end of the prime minister's illustrious political career.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his decision after more than two years of intense investigations and deliberations.
Police had recommended indicting Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three different cases that ranged from accepting expensive gifts from wealthy allies to allegedly trading influence for more favorable press coverage.
"The attorney general has reached his decision after thoroughly examining the evidence," his statement said.
The final decision on indictment will only take place after a hearing, where Netanyahu is given the opportunity to defend himself. That process is expected to take many months and be completed long after the April 9 elections.
But the recommendations immediately cast a cloud over the campaign and Netanyahu's future.
An indictment would mark the first time in Israeli history that a sitting prime minister has been charged with a crime. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert served time in prison for corruption, but had already resigned by the time he was charged.
Netanyahu doesn't look to go that quietly. He denies any wrongdoing and calls the various allegations a media-orchestrated witch hunt aimed at removing him from office. He has vowed to carry on and is deadlocked in the polls, 40 days before Israelis go to vote.
With files from the Associated Press
David Pollock, an expert in Israeli politics; a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a DC-based think tank