Katsav requests additional Supreme Court hearing

Former president asked for hearing before extended panel of justices, but not for his sentence to be delayed.

Former president Moshe Katsav in court 311 (photo credit: Alex Kolomoiski / Pool)
Former president Moshe Katsav in court 311
(photo credit: Alex Kolomoiski / Pool)
Former president Moshe Katsav’s legal team filed a request to the Supreme Court on Thursday, asking for an additional hearing before an extended panel of justices.
Katsav’s defense attorneys, Avigdor Feldman, Zion Amir, Mickey Hoba and Avraham Lavie filed the request exactly two weeks after the court rejected Katsav’s appeal against his rape conviction and sentence. Katsav is set to begin his seven-year prison sentence on December 7.
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The former president was unanimously convicted in the Tel Aviv District Court a year ago of two counts of rape, two counts of sexual harassment, an indecent act using force, and obstruction of justice.
The panel of Supreme Court justices – Miriam Naor, Edna Arbel and Salim Joubran – stated unanimously in their ruling that the District Court’s verdict was sound and that Katsav would serve the prison term imposed by the lower court.
Now Katsav wants to reopen the appeal in a special hearing with an extended panel of justices.
The Supreme Court normally sits with a three-strong panel, but the Supreme Court president can rule to expand that panel to any uneven number (the number of justices must be uneven to ensure that where the justices disagree there can always be a majority ruling).
On rare occasions, the court may also rule to hold what is termed an “additional hearing,” in which a panel of five or even more justices will re-hear an appeal already decided by the panel of three.
Katsav’s lawyers have asked for an additional 45 days to formulate their arguments against the Supreme Court’s ruling and said that after studying that ruling they believe there are grounds for further discussion before an extended panel.
However, since the former president’s appeal was rejected by all three Supreme Court justices after his unanimous conviction in the District Court, it is not expected that Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch will accept the request.
Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision over the extended hearing, Katsav’s request to the court does not include a request to stay his prison term. He is expected to share a cell in the religious wing of the Ma’asiyahu Prison with former cabinet minister Shlomo Benizri, who is serving a four-year prison term after being convicted of accepting bribes.