Deputy State Attorney Shlomo Lemberger made a shocking announcement on Sunday, saying that it is closing the sex for judgeship bribery scandal which shook the country in 2019.
Lemberger explained that while the defendants involved had illegal bribery intentions in their sexual relationship, that they also appeared to have wanted that relationship based on actual attraction and legal grounds.
Based on these mixed motivations, Lemberger said that the case likely would have been a loser in court.
Back in December 2019, then state attorney Shai Nitzan had said that both former Israel Bar Association president Efi Nave and Netanya Magistrate’s Court Judge Eti Karif would likely be indicted in the scandal.
Nave once controlled the deciding votes on the Judicial Selection Committee and Karif had been accused of engaging in an intimate relationship with him in exchange for his support to get her a judgeship.
In the December 2019 prosecution statement, a second judgeship scandal was closed.
Nave was suspected of engaging in an intimate relationship with a female lawyer married to a male magistrate’s judge in order to gain Nave’s support for the male judge’s promotion to the higher district court level.
Similarly, a probe into Nave’s having a problematic intimate relationship with a legal-intern was closed in December 2019 as improper, but not criminal.
In January 2019, Nave resigned as Israel Bar Association president in the wake of the “sex for judgeship” affair.
At the time, Lahav 433 – The National Crime Unit – questioned Nave and two other suspects, one of whom was Karif, for involvement in a scheme of promoting judicial candidates in exchange for sexual favors.
In addition, in January then-justice minister Ayelet Shaked, interviewed on Channel 12 about the Nave saga, defended herself against calls for her resignation due to her political alliance with Nave in the selection of judges.
Shaked lashed out at her critics, claiming that in a prior scandal involving an Israel Bar Association official who had formed an alliance with judges on the Judicial Selection Committee, no one called for the judges to resign because of their association with the bar official.
She said that she should not be attacked either, and was only being attacked because left-wing officials are upset over her success at appointing conservative justices to the Supreme Court.
Overall, she said that she trusts the police to find the truth at the heart of the case, and that even if Nave committed criminal acts, his actions should not put in a negative light the hundreds of proper judicial appointments that she, six Supreme Court justices and other officials made.
Shaked, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and a number of other prominent members of the Judicial Selection Committee were expected to give testimony to police as fact witnesses at some point.