New prosecutor spells new Katsav case delay

Head of prosecution investigating team asks to be relieved of post following A-G's decision not to press charges in case of Beit Hanassi Aleph.

Katsav 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Katsav 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
There will be a further delay in the state prosecution's decision about what to do with the case against former president Moshe Katsav due to a change in the leadership of the prosecution's team of investigators, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz announced Thursday. According to Mazuz, the former head of the team Irit Baumgarten, an attorney from the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office, has been replaced by attorney Ronit Amiel, of the Central District Attorney's Office. Baumgarten had asked to be relieved of the post after Mazuz decided not to press charges against Katsav in the case of Beit Hanassi Aleph. The decision to drop the charges in this matter against Katsav, which had appeared in the original indictment drafted before the hearing granted to the former president's lawyers was made independently of the state's ultimate decision to reach a plea bargain with Katsav. Even after Katsav reneged on the plea bargain agreement, Mazuz made it clear that his reconsideration of what to do about the Katsav case did not include the possibility of reviving the charges against him with regard to Beit Hanassi Aleph, who had accused Katsav of raping her. According to Mazuz, Baumgarten wanted to file the original indictment, including the charges against Katsav regarding Beit Hanassi Aleph, Tourism Ministry Aleph and two other women who worked for him, even after the hearing. Her opinion was that unless the state pressed charges against Katsav in the Beit Hanassi Aleph affair, it should not press charges in the Tourism Ministry Aleph affair. Since Mazuz refused to change his mind about Beit Hanassi Aleph, Baumgarten asked to withdraw from the case. As a result of the personnel change, "we will have to carry out a number of additional investigative activities (some of which have already been completed) and formulate our position and final decision in this matter," Mazuz's spokesman said.