President Moshe Katsav occasionally returns to the Beit Hanassi despite having taken an official leave from his duties in the wake of rape and other sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him by staffers, Israel Radio reported on Monday.
Sources close to Katsav said he arrives to the official presidential residence in Jerusalem " from "time-to-time" in order to gather personal belongings remaining from his almost seven years stay at the compound. They said Katsav did not exercise any authority over staffers at the residence during his visits, or did he conduct any work from there.
Katsav was not in violation of any law by returning to the Beit Hanassi, legal analysts said. He is currently under a self-requested temporary suspension until mid-April, and two rowdy debates by the Knesset House Committee on impeaching Katsav ended without any final decision on the matter.
Nineteen of the 25 committee MKs would need to vote in favor of impeachment and 90 of 120 plenum members. Currently the United Torah Judaism Party, and most of the Shas and Israel Beiteinu Parties would vote against impeachment.
Katsav is still entitled to his salary and official car.
Katsav also reportedly met with his lawyer in recent days in order to point out discrepancies in the testimonies of the four women he is accused of sexually assaulting.
Friends of Katsav told Israel Radio that they objected to what they called continued harassment against him.
Katsav has been staying in his hometown of Kiryat Malachi since days after Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz said on January 23 that planned to indict the president.
On February 21 Mazuz told the Knesset that he had set a May 2 hearing date for Katsav in order to hear new testimony and to decide whether to move forward with the indictment.