Katsav loses cool in lengthy interrogation

President rails against police team: "You are carrying out a dirty investigation against me."

katsav 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
katsav 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
President Moshe Katsav's signature smile was nowhere to be seen Wednesday as he lashed out against police investigators during his sixth and presumably final day of questioning in the ongoing probe into allegations of sexual misconduct and witness tampering. "The police are trying to get me," Katsav allegedly told his interrogators during the four-hour-long morning session. "You are carrying out a dirty investigation against me," the president railed against the police team led by Lt.-Cmdr. Yoav Segelovich. Wednesday's questioning came at the behest of the legal team in order to "fill in" missing details in the investigation concerning testimony by at least two of the women who made allegations against the president and allegations that Katsav attempted to tamper with witnesses through intimidation. In mid-October, police said they had gathered sufficient evidence to recommend indicting the president on charges of rape, as well as indecent acts using force, indecent acts without consent and sexual harassment. At that stage, the investigative file containing the evidence against the president was turned over to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz and the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office. Since then, prosecution teams have been examining the information to determine whether or not the evidence justified an indictment against the president. Mazuz's office and the Jerusalem district attorney are expected to reach a decision within the coming weeks as to whether or not to indict the president, and, if so, on what charges. That decision, however, will probably only come after the November 27 Supreme Court hearing to discuss Katsav remaining in his position. On Wednesday evening, Beit Hanassi released a statement claiming that the president cooperated fully with police investigators and gave comprehensive answers to all questions that were put to him. Katsav expressed the hope that the police would conclude their investigations in the near future and reiterated his hope that the truth would come to light - a statement that he has repeated numerous times since the scandal broke in early July. In July, police began to investigate claims that Katsav committed several acts of sexual misconduct - ranging from harassment to rape - against women while they were employed by him in various government offices. The case was first made public when the president approached police, telling them that he believed he was being blackmailed by a former employee. Only after Katsav approached police did A. come forward with her side of the story. The police investigation into the blackmail allegations has been conducted separately but parallel to the investigation into the growing number of allegations against the president. Although police will not confirm the actual number of women who have testified against the embattled president, at least eight women are known to have complained to the police with regard to actions by the president. Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report.