The Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday convicted Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff's former bodyguard, Erez Efrati, of attempted sodomy and assault, but not attempted rape, of which he was accused. Efrati was convicted under the terms of a plea agreement requiring his confession. The opposing sides have not reached an agreement on the penalty. The maximum penalty for the crimes of which he was convicted is 16 years in prison.
Just hours before the alleged victim of the accused rapist was scheduled to take the stand Monday, the first day of the evidence phase of his trial, lawyers for the defense and prosecution were in the advanced stages of negotiating the plea bargain.
The 30-year-old Efrati was indicted on charges of raping and assaulting a 22-year-old woman after his bachelor party in the Tel Aviv Port last December.
In the event that both sides come to an understanding on a plea deal, it would negate the necessity of the accuser's testimony and pave the way for a conviction based solely on his confession.
Last month, Efrati admitted to sexually assaulting the accuser, although he claimed that he was drunk and was not cognizant of his actions. Efrati's attorney, Keren Nahari, said that his friends had forced him to drink alcohol at the party, that the drinks themselves were doctored and this caused his behavior that night, and that he did not bear criminal responsibility for his actions.
Efrati is charged with attempted aggravated rape, attempted sodomy, assault, and resisting arrest. According to the indictment filed against him, he accosted a woman whom he followed to her car in the parking lot adjacent to Reading power station near the Tel Aviv Port.
As the woman entered her car, Efrati allegedly opened a door of the vehicle before she could manage to start the car. Efrati is then alleged to have dragged her out of the car toward the bank of the Yarkon River. It was there that the alleged attempted rape took place.
A passerby noticed Efrati during the alleged attempted rape and approached them. Initially, Efrati allegedly told the man that she was his girlfriend, yet after she screamed for help a struggle ensued between the passerby and Efrati.
Soon afterwards, Efrati freed himself from the clutches of the passerby and jumped into the Yarkon River. After swimming ashore to the opposite bank, he was met by police officers who were summoned to the scene and arrested.
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