(photo credit: MOSHE MILNER)
Citing insufficient evidence, the State Prosecutor’s Office has dropped its sexual assault probe into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, Gil Sheffer.
In October of 2016, an unidentified woman filed a complaint against Sheffer, 47, who served as chief of staff for Netanyahu from 2012 to 2013, for allegedly forcing her to enter an apartment and attempting to grope her.
According to the woman, the incident took place shortly after Sheffer was supposed to be giving her a ride home from a conference.
She alleged that, during the drive, Sheffer plied her with alcohol while sitting next to her in the backseat.
Upon arriving at the apartment in question, she said she encountered two other unidentified men.
In January, the Israel Police claimed it had sufficient evidence to charge Sheffer with sexual assault, but not enough to convict him.
Following a protracted investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office issued a brief statement on Tuesday saying it is officially dropping the charges.
“After carefully assessing the case material, it has been decided to close the case against the suspect due to a lack of evidence,” the statement said.
MK David Amsalem, chairman of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, praised the decision and criticized the police for what he deemed unjust treatment of Sheffer.
“Almost a year ago, the police announced that there was an evidentiary basis for filing an indictment against Gil Sheffer,” he said.
“Since then, his name has been repeated in the media time after time and his innocence was denied [despite his claims]. Today, it turns out that everything was over nothing. This is exactly why I am trying to correct the distortion and prevent the police from publishing recommendations that harm innocent people even before their cases become known.”
Sheffer’s attorney, Gil Friedman, issued a statement saying Sheffer was “delighted by the correct decision to close the case.”
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