Katsav Wants His Rape Trial Open to the Public

Prosecution had requested closed-door trial, after court rejects defense request to move location of proceedings.

Former president Moshe Katsav wants his rape trial to be open to the public, defense attorneys said on Sunday in response to the prosecution's request to hold the proceedings behind closed doors.

The attorneys stressed that it was not Katsav's "privacy" that was affected by the proceedings so far, but his "honor."

Katsav's defense team had threatened to resign this week, to protest the judges' decision to hold the trial four days a week starting in September, Haaretz has learned.

Lawyers Avigdor Feldman, Tzion Amir and Avraham Lavi say they have many other cases and will not be able to represent Katsav at such frequent hearings.

During the first session of the trial, Amir tried to persuade the head judge, George Kara, to space out the hearings. Kara said no, saying he did not intend to "stretch out" the proceedings to such an extent.

On an earlier occasion, Katsav had asked that his trial be held in Jerusalem or Be'er Sheva, instead of Tel Aviv, arguing these cities were closer to his Kiryat Malachi home. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch rejected the request, noting Tel Aviv was in fact several kilometers closer to Kiryat Malachi than the other two options.

Katsav has been charged with two counts of rape and one count of sexually assaulting plaintiff A. from the Tourism Ministry; sexually assaulting H. from the President's Residence; sexually harassing and commiting an indecent act on L. from the President's Residence; harassing a witness and obstruction of justice.