Moshe Katsav
Moshe Katsav heading home after his sentencing in March. Photo by Ilan Assayag
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Former President Moshe Katsav is expected to file an appeal with the Supreme Court against his conviction on two counts of rape, for indecent assault and sexual harassment of female employees in his office. Along with his appeal Katsav will also ask for a delay in the execution of his sentence until a ruling on the appeal. If the appeal is turned down, Katsav is to begin serving his sentence on May 8.

Katsav is expected to challenge the ruling of the Tel Aviv District Court, which found him guilty. He will argue that in its unequivocal ruling, the court ignored entirely any doubts, mostly about the claims of the main plaintiff, A. from the Ministry of Tourism, and also the difficulties in evidence, which led to serious disagreements among senior figures in the State Prosecution Office.

Katsav is expected to argue that the court ignored evidence his defense attorneys presented, which to him raises doubt about testimony of witnesses for the prosecution.

The defense teams for Katsav is also expected to raise in the appeal, once more, the argument that their client was convicted in the media before his trial began. This will probably be based on the minority view of Judge Yehudit Shevach, who wrote that Katsav should have been sentenced to only four years' imprisonment in view of the damage he sustained as a result of the media coverage and the conduct of the State Prosecutor's Office.

In her minority opinion, Judge Shevach was highly critical of former Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, and said that he had determined Katsav's conviction in an interview to the media before the trial.

Experts assessing the chances facing Katsav's appeal say they are slim, that the Supreme Court does not normally interfere in the factual conclusions of the District Court or concerning the credibility of witnesses. The fact that the conviction was decided unanimously by a panel of three judges will make it difficult for Katsav to forward his argument.

However, Katsav may possibly gain some amelioration in the sentence in view of the minority view of Judge Shevach.