Ex-Ashkenazi guard convicted

Erez Efrati plea bargains: Attempted sexual molestation and sexual assault.

erez efrati 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
erez efrati 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
A former bodyguard of IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi was convicted on Tuesday of attempted sexual molestation and sexual assault, as part of a plea bargain reached by the Tel Aviv District Court.
Under the arrangement, Erez Efrati, 30, pleaded guilty to the two counts and will no longer face a previous charge of attempted rape. Also, his charge of attempted sexual molestation will not be under aggravated circumstances, as was written in the original indictment.
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The attempted sexual molestation charge carries a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison.
Efrati and his lawyers had long contended that he was heavily intoxicated at the time of the incident and not aware or in control of his actions.
Efrati’s attorneys had also claimed that his delusional state was the result of his having ingested fake, bootlegged liquor.
The incident in question occurred late last December, after Efrati left his bachelor party at a strip club near the Tel Aviv Port. He allegedly followed the 22-year-old plaintiff to her car at a nearby parking lot near the Reading power plant and dragged her from the car to the banks of the Yarkon River, where he allegedly attempted to rape her as he beat her and threatened to kill her.
Bystanders who saw the woman struggling with Efrati in the bushes came to her rescue, and Efrati fled into the water, where he hid until police found him.
Efrati’s wedding was scheduled for four days later, but the celebration was placed on hold.
Efrati's fiance does not show at proceedings
On Tuesday, Efrati’s fiancé did not show up at the proceedings, the first time since the incident occurred that she has not come to support him.
Efrati stood before the court on Tuesday and said that he had read the indictment and confessed to the crimes.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that they had pushed for the plea bargain because if the case went to trial, it would require the testimony of dozens of witnesses and could stretch out for months.
Prosecutor Ruth Erez said the plea bargain was worded by the state in a way that exposed the serious charges linked to Efrati, adding that “the accused admitted today to all the crimes, was convicted, and went back on all of the defenses that he had presented before.”
Attorney Tali Eisenberg, who represented the plaintiff on behalf of the Noga center for victims of crime, said after the hearing Tuesday that her client had reached the decision to agree to the plea bargain only in the morning, after “we thought, examined and checked a great deal the pros and cons of the agreement and came to the conclusion that it constituted a harsh arrangement [for the defendant].”
She added, “We took into account the difficulties of a long trial and testimonies, something that would be difficult for everyone involved.”
The plaintiff will still be required to testify during the sentencing phase.