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The ongoing struggle between the defense team of former president Moshe Katsav and the court escalated further yesterday when Judge George Kara refused to allow one of the two defense attorneys to speak.

After attorney Avigdor Feldman finished presenting the case for the defense during the deliberations, attorney Zion Amir asked to also present the case.

Kara asked whether Amir had anything different to add, and when he said that he did not know whether he had different arguments but "wished to present the case his way," the judge dismissed him.

Amir then turned to the prosecution and warned that "we will ask that the panel of judges be replaced," accusing the prosecution of "manipulating the case."

Since rape charges were brought against Katsav, his defense team has tried to delay the trial and overcome the judges' instructions on how they would like to see the trial run.

The defense yesterday argued that the indictment against Katsav differed from the one that was presented by the prosecution during a pretrial hearing, and demanded that the former president be granted another hearing.

The prosecution argued that Katsav has no right to another hearing, and that the changes stemmed from the completion of the investigation.