Katsav's Team to AG: If Date of Alleged Rape Is Not Given, Drop Charges

President Moshe Katsav's lawyers have asked the attorney general for the exact dates Katsav allegedly raped A., the Tourism Ministry employee, and said if these dates are not provided, the charges against the president should be dropped.

In a letter to Menachem Mazuz on Tuesday, Tzion Amir, Avigdor Feldman and Avraham Lavie said there had been a change in the first rape charge in the draft indictment following the addition of a second rape charge by the same woman.

The original charge placed the first rape about a month after A. started work in the Tourism Ministry. The updated version states that the first rape took place "in the first months of A.'s employment, on a date unknown to the prosecution."

Katsav's attorneys argue that this change derives from additional evidence about the second rape - a receipt from a hotel on the date it was allegedly perpetrated, and testimony by A. herself.

"The date attributed to the second rape may be mistaken, or the date of the first rape is based in error, and perhaps - this is also a possibility - all these events are fluid on the timeline and they can be placed at any point, since their having occured, as is argued, is in doubt," the lawyers said.

The State Prosecutor said in response that "all arguments of the attorneys will be clarified in the hearing to be held for Katsav on May 2.

Meanwhile, Katsav has asked Knesset House Committee chair MK Ruhama Avraham to extend his temporary incapacity "until further notice."

Feldman said the president had requested an open-ended period of incapacity because "all kinds of things can happen. The hearing by the attorney general is expected in another week and we don't know what he'll decide. The incapacity is the president's business and he can change his mind at any time, but it is not his intention to suddenly declare it has ended."

The Knesset's legal counsel, Nurit Elstein, will probably advise the committee to extend the incapacity for another three months.

Avraham said she would "do everything so the president remains in his incapacitated state as long as a heavy cloud of suspicion hangs over him."

MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz), who announced she would vote against the extension, said "the MKs who did not dismiss the president have brought this shame and audacity on us, and made us the president's hostages."