Katsav Indictment Watered-down After Sex-crime Plea Deal

The state prosecution yesterday brought a watered-down indictment against former president Moshe Katsav, days after the High Court upheld a controversial plea bargain that will keep him out of jail.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz refused the request of Women's rights groups and the Movement for Quality Government to delay filing the indictment; they had wanted another hearing in front of an extended High Court panel on their appeal against the deal.

The indictment against Katsav filed at Jerusalem District Court details only minor sexual offenses - one count of indecent assault and one of sexual harassment. It will see Katsav receive a suspended sentence rather than actual jail time. The plea deal also includes a total of NIS 50,000 to two of the complainants.

Katsav had been accused of rape, sexual assault, eavesdropping, fraud and breach of trust.

On Wednesday, the state said it was seeking to charge Katsav with crimes of moral turpitude, which would make him ineligible to receive his presidential pension and other benefits.

But Katsav's attorneys said that if the state insisted on charging Katsav with crimes of moral turpitude, they might backpedal from the entire deal.

The penalty for an indecent act is up to seven years in prison.