'Katsav testimony found to be false time after time'

Trial transcripts reveal Katsav's methods of intimidation; Aleph testified: "I told him to stop, I tried to resist."

Moshe Katsav 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Moshe Katsav 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Full transcripts of former president Moshe Katsav's rape trial were released Sunday, painting a picture of a man who manipulated the women who worked under him and the court that ultimately convicted him.
"The testimony of the accused was found, time after time, to be a false testimony, as it explicitly conflicted with objective testimonies that put forward a different version," the judges said.
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The judges defined Katsav as "a sophisticated and manipulative man that did not explicitly lie, but instead scattered about as if there were few signs."
Testimonies of the women that brought the charges which ended Katsav's career were released to the world, providing painful details of intimidation and rape.
Contained in the transcripts was the testimony of Aleph, the woman he was convicted of raping during his time as transportation minister. "I remember the dryness in my throat," Aleph told the court. "I don't know why I remember [that], that's what I remember, that I want, like, to say other things, and suddenly I'm stuck, suddenly I like returned to the first time."
Describing being raped by Katsav, Aleph said: "I was constantly struggling and said that I didn't want [it], 'stop,' in short words and not in screams, stop enough, I'm not interested, I don't want [it]." The painful testimony continued, "I tried to resist, also with my body."

The transcripts later chronicle the way Katsav behaved towards women in his political office whom he wanted to initiate sexual relationships with. "In the office I felt like a queen... He gave me the feeling that I was above everybody and there was no one better than me," Aleph testified. She said that he gave her earrings and a perfume set, but that his gracious attitude quickly became sexual
She told the judges that Katsav never threatened her job if she didn't respond to his advances, but said that she feared resisting him and that "it was always in the background." The whole time, the lack of any balance of power in the relationship, there are things that are said without being spoken."
Another complainant testified about unwelcome "intimate hugs that deviated from the [type of] relationship, from a healthy relationship between a boss and a worker," said Heh, who worked for Katsav when he was president.
Telling the judges about a time when Katsav's wife commented about her dress, and asked her to wear shirts that were more closed,
Lamed, also from Beit Hanassi told the court: "I thought that she was certainly trying to protect herself, her family, the president, to protect me." She added that Katsav once told her she has "voluptuous lips."

At the end of last year, Katsav was convicted of rape, sexual harassment, committing an indecent act while using force, harassing a witness and obstruction of justice.

The decision of the three-judge panel in the Tel Aviv District Court was unanimous in a landmark case that at once stains the country and demonstrates that not even the most elevated citizen is above the law.

“I had no doubt that if and when things would reach judicial inquiry, justice would be seen and done,” the rape victim, “Aleph,” who worked for Katsav at the Tourism Ministry, said in response to the verdict. “For a long time I was subject to base and false attacks at the hands of Katsav’s battery of lawyers and public relations experts. The relief is huge and I am glad to seal this part of my life."

The Katsav who left the courthouse after the verdict appeared a different man than the one who had gone in. In the less than two hours it took to read the verdict, the former president was transformed from an apparently calm and collected dignitary, who walked in with his chin up and projecting an air of confidence in the justice of his cause, into a convicted felon trying to escape the gaze of onlookers and pushing away reporters blocking his way to his car.

After five months of deliberations, the three-judge panel – Kara, Miriam Sokolow and Judith Shevah – found the former head of state guilty on all but one of the charges (harassing a witness).