Court Upholds Former President's Rape Conviction

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- A three-judge Supreme Court panel unanimously rejected an appeal by former President Moshe Katsav on Thursday on a district court sentence for rape and sexual offenses.

The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced Katsav in March to a seven-year prison term and two years' probation on two counts of rape, sexual harassment, indecent acts, and obstruction of justice. He was also ordered to pay 100,000 shekels to the complainants. Katsav will begin serving the sentence Dec. 7.

The judges determined there was "no cause to infringe on the district court's ruling," thereby rejecting the former president's appeal to "consider all possible scenarios."

Katsav has maintained his innocence since the case began nearly five years ago.

The panel agreed the media "crossed a line" in its vendetta against the former president, which it said influenced the State Attorney's office.

Prosecuting attorney Naomi Granot said she was happy with Thursday's ruling, saying it reaffirmed the "fact that sex offenders will get lengthy prison terms, as they should."

Defense attorney Avigdor Feldman said he had little faith in the "court's intuition" when it comes to the "concept of credibility." The court's acceptance of the complainant's reliability proved it was biased against Katsav.

"We have proven unequivocally that at least one of the rapes could not have occurred according to her story," Feldman said. "The complainant -- and I say this despite the ruling -- lied on multiple occasions."

"No wonder the court believes her," Feldman said. "She didn't come alone. She came with troops of journalists."

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