katsav and gila 298 ap.
(photo credit: AP)
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz said Sunday he intended to charge President Moshe Katsav with a second count of rape pending the outcome of a hearing scheduled for the president and his attorneys on May 2.
Katsav defense attorney Zion Amir charged in response that the state had decided to add the new charge even before it questioned his client and that the interrogation had been nothing more than a formality.
The state prosecution had already prepared the draft of an indictment against Katsav which included one count of rape and charges of having forbidden intercourse without the consent of the victim, and two counts of committing an indecent act by exploiting his authority at work and sexual harassment. The charges refer to his actions with four women. The draft indictment also includes other criminal charges not related to sexual misconduct.
The new rape allegation involves one of the same woman, known as "Tourism Ministry A.," who was the alleged victim of the original rape charge. In addition to her complaint that Katsav raped her at the ministry, she recently lodged a new complaint charging that he had lured her to a Jerusalem hotel and raped her there as well.
In another development, the High Court of Justice rejected a petition by a private lawyer, Amir Liran, calling on it to block the May 2 hearing scheduled for Katsav and prohibit the state from indicting him.
Liran argued that the president was immuned from being put on trial as defined in the Basic Law: President, applied to the entire criminal procedure preceding the trial, including the police investigation and the hearing.
The court, however, accepted the state's argument that the president's immunity only barred it from putting him on trial, but did not prohibit it from carrying out the preceding steps.