Lawyer: Mazuz-Katsav 'blackmail' meeting leaked by Justice Ministry

Lawyer Mazuz-Katsav bl

Former president Moshe Katsav's attorney, Avigdor Feldman, charged that someone in the Justice Ministry or the police had leaked the story of Katsav's meeting with Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz and the extortion threat against him, it was revealed Thursday in a transcript of the testimony of Mazuz's assistant, Raz Nazri, at Katsav's trial in Tel Aviv District Court. According to Feldman, the Yediot Aharonot published a report on July 9, 2006, that included details about the fact that "Aleph" had allegedly tried to blackmail Katsav and that the president had asked to meet with Mazuz to discuss the matter. Katsav asked Mazuz to come to his office on July 5, 2006. He told him about the extortion threat and asked him not to divulge in public the details of the meeting. However, on July 8, after receiving questions from journalists in the previous days, Katsav himself issued a statement saying he and Mazuz had meet, but that it had been a routine meeting. Katsav's announcement was taken by Yediot Aharonot as a green light for publishing the details of the meeting as well as the alleged extortion threat. But the paper had learned about the meeting several days earlier and had asked the president many questions about the affair. Under cross-examination, Nazri told Feldman that the day after his meeting with Katsav, Mazuz had revealed details of the meeting to a number of people, including State Attorney Moshe Lador and the head of the police investigations branch. Feldman said he believed one of them had leaked the story to Yediot Aharonot.