Katsav suspected of additional rape

President question for seventh time under police warning in Jerusalem.

katsav angry as hell 248 88 (photo credit: AP)
katsav angry as hell 248 88
(photo credit: AP)
Suspended President Moshe Katsav was questioned under warning Thursday for an hour-and-a-half regarding a second allegation of rape leveled against him by a woman known as "Tourism Ministry A." The allegations presented to the president Thursday were in addition to a previous complaint filed by the same woman, who earlier claimed that the president had raped her at the ministry offices. A Channel 10 report Thursday evening suggested that police had secondary evidence that backed up Tourism Ministry A's account. She reportedly told investigators that in addition to the rape at the ministry, the then-minister had lured her to a Jerusalem hotel, where he raped her. Katsav arrived at Beit Hanassi in the morning, his first official visit to his ceremonial house in two months. Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz had approved Katsav's lawyers' request that he be questioned at the residence and not at a police station or a "neutral location," as requested by the police. Katsav's lawyer Zion Amir said Thursday that these newly-surfaced allegations called into further question the believability of the woman. He also said that he was considering requesting a cancellation of the legal proceedings against Katsav, arguing that in light of the media coverage of the case, there was not a judge in the world who could examine the case without already having formed an opinion. Amir's comments followed a report Wednesday on Ilana Dayan's investigative television program Uvda (Fact) on Channel 2, which portrayed the suspended president fraternizing with criminals and systematically sexually assaulting female employees and then intimidating them into silence. Katsav's legal counsel said that they were also considering suing Dayan, claiming that her television program constituted libel. Also on Thursday, the state told the High Court of Justice it objected to handing some of the testimony in the investigation of Katsav to his lawyers, or the opinions of government prosecutors who opposed the indictment against the president as it was submitted to the court by the state. The state's position was presented in a preliminary response to a petition filed by Katsav's lawyers, Amir and Avigdor Feldman, demanding the material. The state's representative, Dina Silber, told the court that the state had already handed over the great majority of the investigation material and that it included everything the lawyers needed to prepare themselves for the hearing before the attorney-general scheduled for May 2. Regarding the opinions of the prosecutors who opposed the indictment as prepared by the state, Feldman and Amir were referring to Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel and the head of the Criminal Department of the State Prosecutor's Office, Efrat Barzilai. Silber referred to the opinions of the dissenting lawyers as "internal records," and said that according to the law and judicial rulings, such records were not considered investigation material and therefore did not have to be given to the defense attorneys.