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Israel’s ex-president goes on trial

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav went on trial in Tel Aviv on sexual offense charges.

Katsav was formally charged Thursday in Tel Aviv District Court on eight counts, including two counts of rape and one count of committing an indecent act using force. All involved aides when he served as minister of tourism and president.

The trial will resume Sept. 1 after the court’s recess.

"We’re embarking upon a tough, long struggle to clear my name," Katsav told reporters before entering the courthouse. "I promise again that with God’s help, I will emerge innocent."

The allegations first came to light three years ago. Katsav rejected a plea agreement a year ago, deciding instead to fight to prove his innocence.

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