'Decision on Katsav case in coming days'

Sources: Progress on former president's case to be announced soon; Justice Ministry denies prediction.

katsav court 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
katsav court 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Sources in the State Attorney's office reportedly said Thursday that a decision in the case of former president Moshe Katsav will be made in the coming days. The Justice Ministry, however, has denied the prediction. Almost a year ago, Katsav reneged on the plea bargain in Jerusalem Magistrate's Court the day he was due to plead guilty. As part the plea, he was immune from a rape charge or demands that he serve time in prison. In response, the prosecution announced it would prepare a new indictment. However, in July, the Justice Ministry spokesman announced that the case had been handed over to a new prosecutor in the Central District Attorney's Office, signaling a further delay in the drafting of the new indictment while the prosecution reconsidered what charges to file against the former president. No official progress has been made on the case since that point. Lawyer Irit Boman, who was responsible for the Katsav case in the past, surmised on the day Katsav withdrew from the plea bargain that a decision was close, though almost a year has passed with no indictment issued. Two weeks ago, State Attorney Moshe Lador hinted that his office was making progress on the case. "The Attorney-General's Office said in the past that there would be an inspection on proceedings, at the correct time, and that action will be taken. It was right to clarify conduct in the Katzav affair," he reportedly said. Three weeks ago, 'Beit Hanassi Aleph,' who accused Katsav of raping her during his term in office, withdrew her petition asking the High Court of Justice to force investigators to stage a confrontation between herself and Katsav. Despite being the person who triggered the police investigation against the former president, Aleph was not included in the indictment against him due to problematic evidence, and her case has since been closed. Aleph's lawyers had demanded that she be allowed to confront the former president to shed light on the case and bring prosecutors to reverse their decision. However, the court said it was not its place to interfere in such decisions, and recommended that the petitioners withdraw their appeal. Aleph's lawyers complied. Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.