Supreme Court to announce decision on Katsav this week

Panel of justices to pronounce final decision in case which will determine whether the former president will go to prison for seven years.

Former president Moshe Katsav in court 311 (photo credit: Alex Kolomoiski / Pool)
Former president Moshe Katsav in court 311
(photo credit: Alex Kolomoiski / Pool)
After three months of waiting, the Supreme Court will finally announce its verdict on Thursday in former president Moshe Katsav’s appeal against his rape conviction.
The panel of justices – Miriam Naor, Edna Arbel and Salim Joubran – are to pronounce their final decision in the case at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning, which will determine whether the former president will go to prison for seven years, as the district court ruled in December.
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Katsav legal team sticks to ‘consensual’ defense
In August, the Supreme Court heard the former president’s appeal against his conviction in the Tel Aviv District Court last December on two counts of rape, two counts of sexual harassment, an indecent act using force and obstruction of justice.
In May, Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger stayed the former president’s seven-year prison sentence until his appeal process is complete.
When Danziger ruled to stay Katsav’s punishment in May, he identified several judicial decisions by the district court that could lead to his acquittal on the rape charges, should the Supreme Court view things differently after his appeal.
The most crucial of these is that the district court judges refused to accept Katsav’s defense attorneys’ second line of defense, in which they argued that the former president had consensual sex with “Alef” – one of the former president’s accusers – because Katsav himself denied having sexual relations with Alef.
Katsav’s appeal hinges on the chance that the Supreme Court accepts his defense team’s new line of defense, that the former president had consensual sexual relations with Alef.
I
n the appeal, Katsav’s defense attorney Avigdor Feldman reiterated the defense’s position that the former president did not rape Alef.
Feldman described Alef’s versions as a “puzzle,” the pieces of which had been arranged by Alef and her attorneys to show a picture of a rape.
However, Feldman claimed, in reality Alef’s behavior pointed to a different picture, in which no rapes had taken place. In a detailed timeline of events, including phone logs before and after the alleged rapes, the defense argued that Alef’s behavior indicated her relationship with Katsav “went beyond the professional” and that the two had had a romance.
After the appeal in August, Katsav’s defense team expressed optimism about the outcome, saying they felt the court may rule to overturn the district court’s decision.