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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

[Israeli President] Katsav charged with rape

Katsav charged with rape
Attorney General Mazuz decides to file indictment Tuesday afternoon against president
Aviram Zino Published:  01.23.07, 16:36
President Moshe Katsav will be charged with a series of sexual offenses, including rape, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz decided Tuesday.
A number of complainants had accused the president of sexual harassment, coercion and rape.
In addition, the president will also be charged with fraud, breach of trust, harassing a witness and obstruction of justice.
The president had been accused of pardoning prisoners and illegal wiretapping. However, these allegations were dropped due to lack of evidence.
In November, Katsav has said he would resign if indicted .
Attorney Kineret Barashi, who represents A, who leveled the charge of rape against the president, said: "The facts of the indictment speak for themselves."
Katsav's attorneys have said they will hold a press conference on Tuesday evening.

The beginning of the affair

The affair began in July when Katsav complained to the attorney general that he was being blackmailed by A who, he said, was falsely accusing him of sexual wrongdoing.

Mazuz ordered an investigation, which was closely monitored by the attorney general and State Prosecutor Eran Shendar. The investigatory team, headed by top police officer Yoav Segalovitch, submitted its findings in October..

The indictment had been delayed for several weeks as a number of state prosecutors believed that there was not enough evidence to charge Katsav with rape and that the prosecution would have to settle for lesser charges. Others argued that there was sufficient evidence, and this was the position ultimately accepted by Mazuz.
A senior state prosecutor said that he believed that the existing evidence, in the form of letters and tapes, would compensate for the lack of a "smoking gun" and prove solid enough to substantiate a rape charge.
In cases like this, said the prosecutor, the string of continuous testimonies and complainants will suffice. The prosecutor added that there was a more solid base for the prosecution than in the case against former justice minister Haim Ramon, where it was a matter of one person's version of events against another's.
 Attorney Zion Amir, a leading member of Katsav's defense team, said before news of the indictment broke: "We believe that this case is full of holes."

 The Katsav Affair,7340,L-3356053,00.html
A history of the affair, from Katsav's complaint of blackmail to Mazuz's decision to indict
Ynetnews Published:  01.23.07, 18:03

Moshe Katsav was elected president in a surprise upset over Shimon Peres in the summer of 2000. Some six years later, he surprised the nation again, this time with a sex scandal.
Ironically, the president brought the matter to the public's attention. He complained to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz that he was being blackmailed by A who, he said, was falsely accusing him of sexual wrongdoing.

Mazuz opened an investigation to determine the veracity of A's complaints. As the investigation progressed, more women came forward, claiming that Katsav had harassed them at various times throughout his public career.
Additionally, the investigation led to suspicions against the president of fraud, breach of trust, harassing a witness and obstruction of justice.

Although Katsav continued to refute all of the complaints, the tide of public opinion against the president grew.

Many people, including Knesset Member Shelly Yacimovich, called on Katsav to resign, or at least suspend himself from public appearances. The president suspended himself temporarily for the induction ceremony of Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch in September.
But this temporary suspension only increased tensions. In October, several MKs announced they would boycott the opening ceremony of the Knesset's winter session, if Katsav were to attend.
A day before the opening ceremony, police investigators and state prosecutors issued a joint statement alleging that there was enough evidence to support numerous charges against Katsav, including rape.

Nonetheless, some prosecutors believed that there was not enough evidence to indict the president on a charge as severe as rape. It was this internal dissent that delayed Mazuz's final decision.
The decision finally arrived Tuesday evening, when Mazuz announced his intention to indict Katsav on several charges of sexual misconduct, including rape.

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