High Court upholds Katsav deal

Israel’s High Court of Justice upheld ex-president Moshe Katsav’s plea bargain.

A five-justice High Court panel decided Tuesday to reject six petitions against the Attorney General’s Office decision last year to drop rape charges against Katsav in exchange for his confession to lesser offenses.

Two justices, including High Court President Dorit Beinisch, demurred over the deal but had to back the ruling as it was supported by the other three justices.

The plea bargain outraged feminist and government watchdog groups, who said the state risked playing down the severity of sex crimes and inviting charges of favoritism toward public figures.

Katsav, who resigned last year in disgrace, denied allegations by several former female staffers that he had raped or sexually harassed them.

Under the plea bargain, the former president will receive a suspended prison sentence and pay $12,000 in compensation to two of the complainants.

A rape conviction would have carried a penalty of as much as seven years behind bars.

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