The state attorney’s office said on Sunday there were no grounds for the court
to hold a further appeal hearing on former president Moshe Katsav’s rape
The statement came in a formal written response filed with
the Supreme Court.
The state attorney’s office said two new pieces of
evidence the former president’s lawyers requested to bring before the court will
not be enough to overturn the guilty verdict, because they do not prove Katsav
did not commit the two acts of rape for which he has been convicted.
former president is serving a seven-year prison sentence after being unanimously
convicted in the Tel Aviv District Court in 2010 of two counts of rape, two
counts of sexual harassment, an indecent act using force and obstruction of
In November 2011, after the Supreme Court rejected Katsav’s
appeal against his conviction and sentence, his defense team asked for extra
time to file a request for a further appeal hearing, saying that after studying
the ruling, they believed there were grounds for further
Those grounds, Katsav’s legal team argued, were legal
difficulties with the conviction, including the standard of evidence in what was
a testimony-based conviction in which the decisive factor had been something
other than physical evidence or witness corroboration.
Katsav’s newly appointed defense lawyer, Yoram Sheftel, asked the court for
permission to file two pieces of further evidence to be presented in an
additional hearing, which he said proved the former president was telling the
truth regarding his whereabouts at the time Aleph from the Tourism Ministry
claims Katsav raped her for the first time.
Sheftel said the additional
evidence includes a video recording showing Katsav with a personal security
guard from the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) during an event for Persian
Jews in Ramat Gan, and a photograph taken during that event that Sheftel says
proves Katsav’s mother was present, as the former president testified in his
However, in its response to the court, attorney Naomi Granot, for
the state, argued that even if the court accepted those two pieces of new
evidence, it would not be enough to change the outcome of the
Regarding the videotape and photograph from the event, the state
said the issue of the former president’s alibi for that first rape did not rest
on whether he had a security detail before the time of the rape.
court’s rejection of Katsav’s claims regarding the rape was “based on the
totality of the evidence,” the state said, including times of phone
“The court found ‘time windows’ which made the rape possible,
according to the evidence,” the state’s response said.
The state added
that the fact Katsav was photographed with his security guard did not indicate
whether security had been very tight at the event, as the former president
argued, or whether Katsav himself had been closely guarded, as a Shin Bet
The state also argued that the presence of Katsav’s
mother at the event did not lead to the conclusion that he had returned her home
exactly at the time relevant to the rape.
Regarding the issue of the
testimony- based trial, the state said that testimony was, first and foremost,
evidence and that after a court had accepted it as such it was treated as any
other piece of evidence.
The state also disagreed with Katsav’s legal
team’s claims that the court could have been influenced by the media, because
the press had “judged” the president before he went to trial. This,
Katsav’s attorneys claimed, constitutes abuse of process.
state attorney’s office admitted that Katsav “was tried in a certain fashion in
the media,” Granot added that “this is not sufficient for the basis of a claim
of abuse of process.”
Katsav’s legal team also argued that the court’s
verdict had been based on testimony from the main complainant in the case,
Aleph, who said she had told people in real-time about sexual harassment and
The district court had found that since Aleph had
talked about sexual harassment in real time with various people, she must have
been telling the truth; but the former president’s lawyers argued that Aleph had
never told anyone she was raped, noting that Katsav had also consistently denied
having sexual intercourse with Aleph. This, they argued, cast reasonable
doubt on her testimony that rape took place.