(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
'A,' one of the woman involved in the indictment against President Moshe Katsav who worked in Beit Hanassi, has requested that the High Court of Justice prevent Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz from holding a scheduled press conference on Thursday morning during which he planned to make a formal announcement regarding a new plea bargain.
Mazuz was required by law to first inform the women who complained to police about the president's alleged sexual behavior towards them about the details of the agreement prior to his statement. Mazuz is expected to announce the details of the arrangement at 11:30 a.m..
The "second A" who worked in the Tourism Ministry while Katsav had been minister, has requested to appear in court after hearing what she described as the "surprising and outrageous" decision.
Earlier, the state agreed in principle to drop the rape charges in the indictment due to be filed in court against Katsav as part of a plea bargain arrangement reached between his lawyers and the prosecution.
According to reports, in return for dropping the rape charges, Katsav will agree to admit having had sexual relations with one of the four women whose complaints are included in the charges. The rape charges against the "second A" who worked in the Tourism Ministry will be changed to committing an indecent act with force in an effort to kiss the plaintiff. A similar charge of sexual harassment will be attributed to 'Lamed,' another complainant.
Until now, the president has denied having had sexual relations with any of the women, including four others who complained against him but whose complaints were not included in the draft of the indictment.
As it stood until now, the draft indictment included two counts of rape, both involving the woman known as the "second A.," who worked for him when he served as minister of tourism.
Regarding the "first A," whose threat to tell the public that Katsav had raped her triggered the police investigation, the draft indictment includes charges of forbidden intercourse by consent by exploiting his authority in employment or service, committing an indecent act without consent, committing an indecent act by exploiting his authority and sexual harassment.
The draft indictment also includes charges of sexual harassment regarding two other women who worked in Katsav's office.
Meanwhile, Katsav's lawyers, Zion Amir confirmed details of the plea bargain between the accused and the state attorney in an interview with Army Radio on Thursday morning. "The indictment includes approximately five to 10 percent of the original charge sheet. From the beginning I said that nothing will end in [charges of] rape," said Amir.
Amir said Katsav had not initially wanted to admit anything. "We had a very hard time convincing the President to admit even such a minor act, certainly relative to the original accusations," Amir told Army Radio.
Earlier, Amir and the president's other lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, expressed anger that the development had been leaked to the press.
The justice ministry spokesman was unavailable for comment on Wednesday night, but according to media reports, he indicated that the sides had indeed reached an agreement.