Katsav Asks Court for Papers That Might Help His Case

After a week of failed talks between former president Moshe Katsav's attorneys and the prosecution, Katsav asked the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court to order the state prosecutor to turn over materials on the case.

Katsav is being charged with sexual offenses against two former employees.

Katsav claims, via his attorneys Avigdor Feldman, Zion Amir and Avraham Lavi, that he has not received "investigative material" that he has the right to receive for his defense. The State Prosecutor's Office disagrees.

The request is likely to cause a further delay in the ex-president's trial.

Katsav's defense attorneys say the prosecution "is standing by its position of not turning over anything. Not investigative material, not paraphrasings of it .... [The prosecution] has not even answered the question of whether the material listed is in the hands of the prosecution or not, and what is the reason for their refusal to deliver it."

The trial was scheduled to open March 26 in Jerusalem, but was postponed by two weeks to allow negotiations over the transfer of the requested materials.

The court had ruled that if the sides cannot reach an agreement, the defense could petition the court by April 2 and ask the court to rule on the matter. The two sides have been meeting feverishly, but the defense says the prosecution is steadfast in its refusal to pass on the requested materials.

The defense asked to receive the notes from meetings with the complainants and other witnesses, but the prosecution responded: "There is no justification to reveal the notes taken by the prosecution during the meetings with the complainants and other potential witnesses."

The defense says its request is even more important after A., the complainant from the Tourism Ministry, presented a victim's impact statement to the court. Katsav's attorneys requested her medical history to rebut her claims that Katsav's actions caused to her to need psychological treatment.

The defense views rebutting A.'s statement as important because it could have a significant impact on the court's decision on whether to consider Katsav's crimes acts of "moral turpitude."

Yesterday, the court rejected a request from Channel 2 news and Israel Radio to allow the first session of Katsav's trial to be broadcast live. They claimed that the trial was of major public importance, but the court felt that broadcasting it could disrupt the proceedings. The judges ruled that a live broadcast could violate the privacy of those involved because it involved sexual offenses.