Katsav cops plea bargain

Israeli President Moshe Katsav confessed to sexual misconduct under a plea bargain that spared him more serious rape charges and possible prison time.Katsav will be convicted of sexually harassing and molesting female staff as well as witness tampering, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced Thursday. Katsav will receive a suspended prison sentence and pay compensation to the complainants.The deal allowed Katsav to escape a possible indictment on charges that he raped a former aide, for which he could have spent as much as 18 years in prison.Katsav, who had long denied wrongdoing in the case, is the first Israeli head of state to be convicted of sexual misconduct. He resigned his presidency early as part of the plea; his term was to have ended next month. Shimon Peres is taking over as his elected successor.

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