The Tel Aviv District court on Sunday released full transcripts of the defense
testimonies from former president Moshe Katsav’s rape trial last
The testimonies, which run to hundreds of pages, were given in
closed court and until now have remained confidential.
convicted in December of two counts of rape, two counts of sexual harassment, an
indecent act using force, and obstruction of justice. He has been sentenced to
seven years in prison.
Katsav categorically denied all the charges
against him and has submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court.
start of his testimony before the Tel Aviv District Court, he said he wanted his
side of the story to be told.
“Finally, finally someone is listening to
me,” Katsav told the court. “This the easy part, contrary to what you
In later testimony, the former president categorically denied
raping the main plaintiff in the case, known as “Alef,” at the Jerusalem Plaza
Hotel in 1998.
“I wasn’t with Alef at any hotel. That I can say for
sure,” Katsav told the court.
He also denied Alef’s allegations that he
had harassed her.
“I, God forbid, I would have been ashamed to look her
in the eyes. I never, ever harassed her, I never, ever committed any obscene
act. She never said a word about anything of the sort, she hasn’t made a single
claim, not in a hint or directly. Quite the reverse, in all these years
she’s shown only warmth and love,” Katsav said.
He also said that he had
not favored Alef or treated her any differently from any of his previous bureau
chiefs, and denied using a “honey trap” of special treatment in return for
He further said Alef was obsessed with other women who had
come into his office and accused her of lying in her testimony to the
“She knows that she had to lie and she doesn’t want to elaborate
on those lies,” he said.
Katsav also slammed the media, saying that Alef
was surrounded by media advisers who were encouraging her to lie and even
suggested that perhaps journalists had paid her for interviews about her
In the trial, Katsav’s defense argued that Alef had fabricated the
rape story after seeing that other women had complained about Katsav. They
claimed she did so to get revenge on Katsav for firing her.
testimony, Katsav was questioned about Lamed, the then 18-year-old who had
undertaken National Service at Beit Hanassi.
Katsav was found guilty of
sexually harassing Lamed.
In his testimony, he admitted that he had once
hugged and kissed Lamed when the two were alone in his office.
the court that he did this to thank her for her work in helping to organize his
60th birthday party.
“I told her, ‘You deserve to be thanked, you deserve
a hug and a thank you for everything you’ve done in the past few weeks,’” Katsav
said. “So I get up, and she’s already on her way to the door, she turns round,
she comes back to me, she’s smiling. So I go to her, I hug her, I kiss her on
the cheek, I tell her thank-you again and she goes out. She’s smiling, in a good
When questioned about his working relationship with Lamed, Katsav
replied that she was “younger than my youngest son.”
Katsav was later
asked to respond to the fact that Lamed had testified that the former president
had also had personal conversations with her in which he had asked her whether
she had a boyfriend.
“Probably, she probably did answer a question like
that,” Katsav said. “It was a question that came up during a conversation that
had developed between two people, in this case a boss and a secretary, which
didn’t have any ulterior motive to it. It was probably something about her
family, maybe about her parents, or maybe I thought of someone to introduce to
her. I had set up Alef from the Tourism Ministry with someone and she dated
Katsav later said that the question of whether he had asked Lamed
whether she had a boyfriend was “a very simple question.”
“I don’t see in
that question, which she has suddenly turned into something so dramatic, I don’t
see anything dramatic in it,” he told the court.
Katsav was also asked to
respond to the fact that, in her testimony, Lamed had also said that he had told
her she had “sensual lips.”
“I never said that expression ever, not once
in the 64 years of my life. That’s not my language, that’s not my style,”
responded Katsav. “Whether someone put that into her head, whether someone
coached her, whether she collaborated, whether she knows she’s lying, I don’t
know – but that is a lie.”
In her testimony, Lamed also said that when
Katsav hugged her, he told her to “do it harder.”
Katsav denied that he
had said this.
The former president later told the court he believed that
colleagues in Beit Hanassi had pushed Lamed into making a complaint of sexual
harassment against him.
He also categorically denied Lamed’s accusation
that he had stared at her and that he had sniffed at her neck.
he admitted that he had “probably” pinched Lamed’s cheek and told her she was
“cute,” as Lamed had testified, but that he had done that only once to
compliment her for her good work.
The confidential defense testimonies
were released two months after the former president submitted an appeal over his
conviction to the High Court.
The Supreme Court has acceded to Katsav’s
request to delay the commencement of his seven-year custodial sentence until his
appeal has been decided.
In a new development last week, police charged
that in the months since his conviction and ahead of his appeal, Katsav or his
brother Lior had hired two private detectives and asked them to approach
individuals connected to trial witnesses and find evidence to undermine their
The name of one of the private investigators was released on
Sunday. Former police officer Dan Vig, 49, who has past criminal convictions,
was one of two private detectives arrested earlier this month on suspicion of
approaching individuals and secretly recording conversations.
was released for publication after the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court lifted a
media ban. The name of the second investigator is still banned from
Katsav’s attorneys said the use of private investigators was
a legal and legitimate step available to those seeking to clear their
names.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.
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