katsav trial first day 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi)
The Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday reached a compromise with the lawyers representing former president Moshe Katsav, agreeing to hold three hearings a week during the first two months of the trial, which resumes on September 1.
Originally, the panel of judges headed by George Karra had scheduled four hearings per week, while the lawyers, Avigdor Feldman, Zion Amir and Avraham Lavie, asked for alternately two hearings one week and three hearings the next.
When the judges refused to accede to the attorneys' demand, they asked to be relieved of their duty to represent Katsav. Both the Tel Aviv District Court and the Supreme Court rejected their request.
Meanwhile, the district court also rejected the lawyers' request to hold another hearing before making a final decision on whether to indict their client or not.
The lawyers argued that the prosecution had continued their investigation and gathered new evidence after the plea bargain fell through, and that it had also changed the team of prosecutors who prepared the indictment.
But the judges - Karra, Miriam Sokolow and Judith Shevach - rejected their arguments.
"A hearing is not a general rehearsal for the trial itself, but is meant to address only the main issues," they wrote. "The next examination of the evidence will be conducted by the court."
In a related development, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Oded Mudrick rejected the lawyers' request to see additional types of documents related to the investigation.
Although the state agreed to hand over most of the information requested, it refused to give the lawyers a report written by a committee appointed to investigate the leak to the media of a computer disc including evidence from the investigation; opinions about the case submitted by various prosecutors in the State Attorney's Office, including Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel and attorneys Efrat Barzilai and Ronit Amiel; and transcriptions of interviews by the prosecution with the women who complained against Katsav.
The interviews were allegedly meant to clarify contradictions in their testimony and reexamine the credibility of their stories.
Mudrick supported the state's position on these matters.