Katsav's attorneys slam Mazuz for leak

A-G says material "serious" after new allegations surface against president.

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
President Moshe Katsav's attorneys slammed Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz Tuesday, accusing him of not preventing information on the latest sexual assault charges against the president from being leaked to the press. In a harshly-worded letter sent to the attorney-general's office, the defense lawyers claimed that Mazuz was directly responsible for letting the new information about the confidential complaint reach the press. Katsav's attorneys, Avigdor Feldman, Zion Amir and Avraham Lavi said that in light of the recent developments, they would urge the president not to cooperate with police in the investigation. They added that from now on, they would also refuse to respect any agreement not to expose investigative material. On Tuesday morning, Mazuz was quoted as saying that the material in the Katsav case was "very serious." Mazuz told Channel 1 that in the speech delivered by Katsav a few weeks ago, the president said "some things that were inaccurate and incorrect." Amir later told Israel Radio that "it's outrageous to hear media reports about a charge [you] know nothing about." He added that the president continued to deny any and all allegations against him, and that it was possible that following the scheduled hearing, [the prosecutors] would decide to shelve the case. On Monday, after weeks of relative quiet, Katsav was back in the spotlight after Mazuz announced that the suspended president would be questioned by police again on Thursday morning. Mazuz alerted the Supreme Court that due to what he described as "new investigative information," Katsav would be questioned again by police. But the circumstances surrounding the "new information" remained unclear Monday night. Police sources claimed that the information concerned an additional woman who came forward alleging another instance of sexual harassment or assault. Mazuz's office, however, claimed that the new information had nothing to do with sex crimes allegations, but rather concerned other crimes allegedly carried out by Katsav, possibly involving wiretapping. Katsav, who has been living at his private home in Kiryat Malachi since being suspended from his post, will be questioned at Beit Hanassi. Sources inside the police said they had preferred he be questioned at a police station, but Mazuz reportedly overruled them. This latest questioning session comes as Katsav awaits a hearing with Mazuz that has been scheduled for May. During that meeting, Mazuz is expected to determine whether the president will be indicted on the charges emerging from the police investigation that began in July 2006. Last week, Katsav's attorneys issued an appeal to the Supreme Court against Mazuz, requesting that he turn over the entire case file, including the comments made on the case by the District Attorney's Office. Katsav, who was given a three-month suspension by the Knesset House Committee in January, has been accused by at least eight different women of committing crimes ranging from sexual harassment to rape. The president has vehemently denied the allegations, which surfaced last summer, declaring himself the victim of a witch hunt.