Former Prosecutor in Katzav Case Quits, Citing 'Marginalization'

A senior prosecutor at the center of a high-profile struggle in the case against former president Moshe Katzav announced yesterday that she is leaving the State Prosecutor's Office.

A senior source in the Jerusalem District State Prosecutor's Office said yesterday that at the root of Irit Baumhorn's decision were disagreements about how to prosecute the Katsav case and the fact that she was not promoted but was marginalized, despite her professional capabilities.

Baumhorn, a 23-year veteran of the State Prosecutor's Office, was closely linked to the investigation of the Katsav case.

She was also involved in coming to a plea bargain with Katsav's attorney's, which the former president ultimately rejected in April 2008, resulting in charges being brought against him.

After Katsav rejected the plea bargain, Baumhorn argued that he should be charged for sexual violations against each of the women who complained against Katzav.

Then-attorney general Menachem Mazuz argued that the complaint of A., who worked for Katzav, should not be included against him and that her case should be closed.

Baumhorn also came under fire from the Jerusalem District Prosecutor, Eliahu Abarbanel, who believed that the chance of gaining a conviction in the case of A. was minimal and should be dropped.

Baumhorn refused to give in and asked that she be relieved of the case.

In an unusual move, Mazuz then transfered the case from the Jerusalem District Prosecution to the Central District Prosecution, where Ronit Amiel is now prosecuting Katsav at the Tel Aviv District Court, which is closed to the media.

A year ago, Baumhorn competed for the post of Abarbanel's deputy, which she failed to win, and several months ago she applied for the post of Southern District Prosecutor, which she also did not get.

Baumhorn refused to comment last night on her decision.