Trials & Litigation

Attorney withdraws from murder defense after being charged with groping client's mom at law office

Criminally charged with felony gross sexual imposition after prosecutors say he exposed himself and fondled the breasts of a client’s mother at his law office during an April 4 meeting, an Ohio attorney has now withdrawn from the murder defense of the woman’s son.

Javier Armengau denies any wrongdoing but withdrew around the time of a Franklin County Common Pleas Court hearing scheduled Monday after the prosecution in the case objected to his continued representation of the adult murder defendant, reports the Columbus Dispatch.

Armengau’s lawyer, Frederick Benton, told the judge that his client “strenuously denies” the allegations made by the woman but is “ ethically compelled to withdraw,” the newspaper reports. Judge Julie M. Lynch agreed to remove Armengau and appointed another lawyer to defend the murder case.

The article says a prosecutor contends that “incriminating statements” by Armengau about what happened April 4 were recorded during a subsequent phone conversation and dinner meeting with the alleged victim.

Meanwhile, the prosecution in the murder case has extended the term of a plea offer to the defendant, in recognition of the fact that he has had to change his legal counsel.

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