Ex-bodyguard of IDF chief close to plea deal in sexual assault case as victim set to take stand
Erez Efrati accused of trying to rape woman at Tel Aviv Port after bachelor party last December.
Lawyers have been negotiating a plea bargain just hours before the alleged rape victim of a former security guard for the IDF chief of staff takes the stand today.
Thirty-year-old Erez Efrati, whose case is being heard by Tel Aviv District Court, was indicted on charges of attempted rape and assault of a 22-year-old woman after his bachelor party at Tel Aviv Port last December.
If the two sides come to an understanding on a plea deal, the woman would not need to give testimony and a conviction could be achieved based solely on a confession.
Last month, Efrati admitted to sexually assaulting his accuser, although he claimed that he was drunk and was not aware of his actions. Efrati's attorney, Keren Nahari, said Efrati's friends had forced him to drink alcohol at the party, that the drinks were doctored and this caused his behavior that night. Efrati therefore does not bear criminal responsibility for his actions, Nahari says.
Efrati is charged with attempted aggravated rape, attempted sodomy, assault and resisting arrest.
According to the indictment, he accosted a woman whom he followed to her car in the parking lot next to Reading Power Station near Tel Aviv Port.
As the woman entered her car, Efrati allegedly opened a door of the vehicle before she could turn the ignition. 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 confrontation and approached.
Initially, Efrati allegedly told the man that the woman was his girlfriend, but after she screamed for help the passerby and Efrati began to scuffle.
Efrati soon got free and jumped into the river. After swimming to the other side, police who had been called to the scene arrested him.