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Former Israeli President Rejects Plea Deal


Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav has rejected a controversial plea deal that would have required him to admit to sexual misconduct to avoid jail time.

Mr. Katsav appeared in a Jerusalem court Tuesday where he was expected to accept the plea deal. Instead he rejected it, saying he would seek to clear his name.

Prosecutors have indicated the former president is running the risk of facing more serious charges by rejecting the plea agreement.

The plea bargain was reached last year and called for rape charges against Mr. Katsav to be dropped, and eliminated the possibility of jail time. In return, he would plea guilty to charges of sexual harassment, indecent acts and witness harassment

In February Israel's high court upheld the controversial plea agreement after women's rights activists petitioned the court to throw out the deal.

When the plea bargain was originally announced, Israel's Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said he was not certain he could convict Mr. Katsav of rape, saying there were problems with evidence in the case.

In 2006, four women who had worked for Mr. Katsav accused him of sexual harassment, and one accused him of rape. Mr. Katsav denied the allegations.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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