Moshe Katsav
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov

Prosecutors say Katsav case problematic

Team handling former president's case at State Prosecutor's Office believes evidence against him won't be enough for conviction

The evidence against former President Moshe Katsav may not be enough to indict him, the Central District Prosecutor's Office team handling the case has concluded.


Attorneys Ronit Amiel and Nissim Marom submitted these findings to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador several days ago.


The two prosecutors believe that the case contains significant difficulties, which lead to doubts over the weight of the evidence needed in order to convict Katsav in the rape of his former secretary during his tenure as tourism minister.


Attorney Amiel was the person who submitted the first opinion in the Katsav case and believed he should be put on trial for harassing complainant A. who worked with him at the Tourism Ministry


Katsav at court. 'Prosecutors in favor of closing case' (Photo: Flash 90)


Several months ago, the previous team handling the case at the Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office, headed by Attorney Irit Baumhorn, decided to resign due to harsh differences of opinion with the attorney general and Jerusalem District Prosecutor Eli Abarbanel.


Baumhorn believed Katsav should also be tried for acts he allegedly committed against complainant A. from the President's Residence in order to show a similar parent of behavior. Mazuz, on the hand, thought there was not enough evidence to add A. to the indictment.


Abarbanel and other attorneys involved in the case believe it should be closed completely without an indictment. After the team resigned, the case was turned over to Amiel and Marom, who began forming their conclusions after completing their investigation.


It appears the new team is also uncertain about the evidence needed for an indictment against Katsav.


"This is a very problematic and borderline case, and there are many internal conflicts. One must remember that some of the attorneys familiar with the case are in favor of closing it completely, while others believe Katsav should be charged with rape and indecent assault," said a source at the State Prosecutor's Office.


Katsav arrives for confrontation with complainant (Photo: Avi Moalem)


A senior official said over the weekend that the decision in the case was near and would be made in January. Despite the doubts among the new team, sources at the State Prosecutor's Office have said they were not certain the case would be closed and that senior officials would be discussing the evidence and difficulties in the coming days.


The confrontation between Katsav and A. of the Tourism Ministry would also be examined, and the officials would have to decide whether there was enough evidence to file an indictment or whether the case should be closed.


Senior officials at the Justice Ministry have said this was a difficult and problematic case, as it was one version against another version, and that the court must be the one to decide as in additional cases involving sexual offenses.


Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe Cohen said in response, "The discussions continue and we are in the middle of the decision making process. A statement will be made when it is completed. In the meantime, we cannot address any reports on the issue."


פרסום ראשון: 01.11.09, 09:47
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