Former President Moshe Katsav, along with his wife Gila and a small group of relatives, received the news of the High Court's decision to accept his plea bargain agreement Tuesday with satisfaction.
Following the ruling, his associates plan to move for a disclosure of the secret report filed by the State Prosecution to the court on the case, claiming that the document contains evidence that could clear Katsav.
The former president's lawyers also threatened Tuesday to renege on his plea bargain if the clause of moral turpitude is included in the final indictment against him.
Motti Morell, Katsav's media advisor, told Ynet," The case proved to be much ado about nothing, but I can't say that the former president is pleased. What has he got to be pleased about, the fact that he has been victimized?"
Meanwhile, the complainants against Katsav were outraged by the court's ruling, saying that it would work to discourage other women from filing sexual harassment complaints in the future.
"Other women will now need to think twice before filing a complaint," said plaintiff A, who worked with Katsav during his tenure at the Tourism Ministry.
Attorney Moshe Laroz, who represents A, added, "The complainant is very disappointed. She expected the High Court to reject the plea bargain and bring the discussion back where it belongs – in court."
According to Laroz, the ruling was, at least on the face of it, questionable, in light of the court's harsh criticism of the plea agreement. "We mustn't forget that this is a complainant who had to muster a great deal of courage to complain against the president. And then a deal is struck, without anyone consulting her."
Attorney Kinneret Barashi, who represented complainant A in the case against Katsav, claimed that "this is a dark day for the judicial system, a dark day for us citizens. The revolution that has taken place in recent years with regards to sex offenses against women has gone down the drain, although the attorney general was harshly criticized."
Barashi added, "This is the first Israeli president to be convicted of serious sex offenses, although throughout the case he maintained he didn't do it – he was willing to admit to sex offenses. The lenience, because this is a public figure, is unacceptable."
Roi Mandel contributed to the report