TIMELINE / Katsav's Rape Trial Comes to a Close After More Than 5 Years

The scandal has rocked Israel since July 2006, since a former employee in the president's office threatened to file sexual harassment complaint against him.

Israel’s Supreme Court decided Thursday to reject Former President Moshe Katsav’s appeal, after he was convicted of two counts multiple sexual assaults and was sentenced to seven years in prison. The following is a timeline of the scandal that rocked the country over the past five-and-a-half years.

July 2006: President Moshe Katsav meets with Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, in order to complain of an alleged blackmail attempt by A., a former employee in Katsav’s office, who threatened to file a sexual harassment complaint against him.

katsav - Tal Cohen - December 30 2010
Tal Cohen

Several days later, Mazuz decides to open a criminal investigation regarding the matter. Katsav sends him a letter where he notes that he is not sure that A. attempted to blackmail him, and that he does not think a criminal investigation is necessary.

After another few days, Katsav goes from complainant to suspect. After his complaint to Mazuz goes public, several women who had previously worked with him report additional stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

August 23, 2006: A special investigation team interrogates Katsav under warning in connection to rape allegations. In response, Katsav attacks Mezuz and the media that, according to him, are attempting to “lynch” him. Katsav makes clear that he does not intend to leave his post.

October 15, 2006: Israel Police informs Mezuz that they have enough evidence to put Katsav on trial for the alleged rape of two separate women who worked under him.

January 23, 2007: Mezuz publishes a first draft of Katsav’s indictment which includes allegations of rape, sexual harassment, forceful indecent assault, and forced sex with four different women who previously worked with the president.

January 24, 2007: Katsav publicly discusses the allegations for the first time since the beginning of the affair. For a full 50 minutes, he gives his own version of the events, denies the allegations, and hurls accusations at the media, the police and Mezuz.

January 25, 2007: The Knesset Committee votes to allow Katsav a temporary absence for three months. Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik (Kadima) fills his seat. Three months later, Katsav asks to extend his leave until the end of his term in July 2007.

May 2, 2007: Katsav attends a hearing at Mezuz’s office. His defense attorneys say that the evidence presented to Mezuz are “dramatic”.

June 28, 2007: Mezuz announces that Katsav’s attorneys have agreed to a plea bargain, which includes minimized charges. The new indictment omits two of the women’s complaints, including a rape charge, on the basis of a lack of evidence and an exceeding of the statute of limitations. The plea bargain caused an uproar, and was petitioned to the High Court of Justice, although the petition was rejected.

June 29, 2007: Katsav resigns a short while before the end of his term.

April 2008: Katsav’s case begins in the Jerusalem District Court. He surprises everyone when he announces that he is retracting his plea bargain.

March 19, 2009: After many months of deliberations, the prosecution files a severe indictment again Katsav. The former president is accused of rape, sexual harassment, forceful indecent assault, forced sex against three different women. He is also accused of disrupting legal proceedings. The indictment, however, does not include a rape accusation of a former employee who worked in the President’s residence.

September 1, 2009: The court begins hearing testimonies. The judges presiding over the case decide to hold all discussions behind closed doors.

December 30, 2010: Katsav is convicted of all offenses attributed to him. The court refutes each line of defense used by Katsav during the trial, and states that his testimony succeeded in presenting “lies, manipulations, and withholding information”.

March 22, 2011: The Jerusalem District Court sentences Katsav to seven years in prison, with a suspended sentence of two years. He is also ordered to pay NIS 125,000 in compensation to the victims.

August 7-11, 2011: Judges from Israel’s Supreme Court debate Katsav’s appeal. Katsav’s attorney claims that his client and one of the women actually had consensual intercourse, and that Katsav lied during his testimony in the Jerusalem District Court.

November 10, 2011: Israel's Supreme Court decided to uphold the Tel Aviv District Court's conviction, sending Katsav to prison for two counts of rape.