Katsav leaves court after 4-hour sentence plea hearing

By RON FRIEDMAN
February 22, 2011 14:36

Former president refuses to talk to press but smiles at onlookers; prosecution, defense lawyers give no indication of outcome.

1 minute read.



Former president Moshe Katsav in courthouse

katsav in court 311. (photo credit:AP)

After four-and-a-half hours of closed-door sentencing pleas, former president Moshe Katsav stepped out of the Tel Aviv district courtroom Tuesday afternoon, followed by his lawyers.

Katsav did not talk to the press, but waved and smiled at onlookers.

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Neither the prosecution nor the defense lawyers gave any indication of what happened in the courtroom.

A summary of the day's hearing will be released by the courts administration later in the day.

The convicted ex-president's sentence reading has been scheduled for March 8, 2011, and will be open to the press.

The sentencing pleas were held behind closed doors after a ruling by the Supreme Court on Monday. The ruling came in response to an appeal filed by journalists, represented by Globes legal reporter Yuval Yoaz, who argued that since both the prosecution and defense had agreed that the press could be present for most of the hearing, there was no reason for the lower court to prohibit this.

The justices issued the ruling on Monday in response to an appeal filed by journalists, represented by Globes legal reporter Yuval Yoaz, who argued that since both the prosecution and defense had agreed that the press could be present for most of the hearing, there was no reason for the lower court to prohibit this. Yoaz also argued that the public had a right to know the length of the sentence the state was seeking.

Katsav was convicted in December on two counts of rape, indecent assault and sexual harassment. With the exception of the final ruling, a strict publication ban has been in place on the trial since proceedings began in June 2009. All testimony and arguments were held behind closed doors to protect the privacy of the victims.

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