President Moshe Katsav, who was charged with two counts of rape Thursday, has told Ma'ariv that he "regrets" entering politics and running for president.
"If I hadn't run and won, all this would never have happened," he said in the interview set to be published in the newspaper's weekend section, excerpts of which were released Thursday.
Defending his decision to convene a press conference last week in which he blasted the law enforcement authorities, Katsav said, "For two years, I was waiting to give my side."
"Everyone allowed themselves to slander me. I felt a need to give my version so that the public would not think that I am a monster. [Attorney-General] Menahem Mazuz turned me into a monster," he said.
Instead of the media focusing on the content of my words, they focused on the length of my speech," he continued. "Do you really care if I speak for three hours or ten hours?"
Katsav explained how for the last 32 months, he had done almost nothing that wasn't connected with the sexual crimes case.
"I had one day on which I had two funerals and another few days when I was sick. Apart from that, I have been dealing exclusively with the case. I get up in the morning, pray and start working on the case. People sometimes go to sleep to escape reality. I go to sleep and even at night, dreams haunt me. I take a sleeping pill to fall asleep and still wake up in the middle of the night."
He said he avoided attending events due to the reactions he anticipated. "I arrive at a wedding or another event, and I come across someone staring at me. Our gazes cross and I ask myself, 'Could it be that he believes what they are writing about me?'"
The former president said that not long ago, he had gone with his wife Gila to the theater, and when they got out of their car, people started shouting abuse at them.
"We decided then we would stop going to the theater," he told Ma'ariv