Full Katsav verdict to be published on Sunday

Petitions by ex-president and rape victim dismissed; judges claim blacking out of details would not distort factual picture before the public.

katsav enters court 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
katsav enters court 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The publication of the full verdict of former president Moshe Katsav’s court case – which was supposed to take place on Thursday – has been postponed until Sunday, by order of the three-judge panel which heard the case. The decision to postpone the publication came after the judges heard contrasting motions from Katsav’s lawyers and from “Aleph,” one of the victims, regarding the extent of the information that will appear in the document.
Two weeks ago, the Tel Aviv District Court convicted the former president of two counts of rape, sexual harassment, committing an indecent act and obstructing justice.
Shortly before noon on Thursday, when the verdict was supposed to be published, Katsav’s lawyers, Zion Amir and Avigdor Feldman, petitioned the court to delay publication, claiming that the omission of several details that were concealed in order to protect the identity of Aleph would distort the public’s factual perception of the case.
In its brief to the court, Katsav’s lawyers wrote, “The release of only part of the ruling severely limits the presentation of the full factual picture to the reader. It could further inflame and incite the passions of the media and the public against the defendant.”
Earlier, the judges received a petition from Aleph asking to black out additional details, which she believed would reveal her identity.
The judges dismissed Katsav’s lawyers’ petitions, claiming that the blacking out of minor details, which mostly had to do with the plaintiff’s identity, would not distort the factual picture brought before the public. They also dismissed Aleph’s request to conceal additional details, claiming that they did not reveal her identity. Despite dismissing the petitions of both sides, the judges decided to delay publication of the more than 300-page-long document until Sunday.
On Tuesday, the judges – George Karra, Miriam Sokolov and Yehudit Shevah – said that they would publish the full verdict of the case, which was held behind closed doors for a year and a half, because it was in the public interest to do so. They allowed for two days in which interested parties who thought they would be harmed by the publication would come forward and make their claims.
On Wednesday, the judges announced that the hearing on the pleas for sentencing in the trial will be held on February 22. It is yet unclear whether the media will be allowed to attend.
It is anticipated that the State Attorney’s Office will request that Katsav’s crimes be characterized as constituting moral turpitude and a severe punishment be imposed, but that it won’t push for the maximum sentence allowed by law.
Katsav is currently forbidden to leave the country and the government is to decide on whether he will be allowed to keep the state-granted benefits that are provided to a former president.