Criminal Justice

Lawyer softens claim of client attack, says 70 percent of his clients sometimes want to strangle him

A California criminal defense lawyer who asked a judge in November 2010 to remove him from a case because of a client assault is now softening his accusations.

The client is now on trial for the alleged incident and lawyer Andy Tursi is being called as a witness, the San Jose Mercury News reports. In the 2010 private conference with the judge, Tursi originally said his client, Ernesto Mirabal, slammed the lawyer’s head into a jail wall, made threats and mentioned his family. Prosecutors unsealed the transcript and filed criminal-threat charges against Mirabal.

Tursi is now downplaying the confrontation with Mirabal, the story says. Tursi says he and his client “kind of veered off to the left and bada-boom,” the lawyer fell against the wall. In testimony before a grand jury, Tursi said conflicts aren’t unusual.

“Seventy percent of my clients want to strangle me (at) one time or another,” Tursi said.

Mirabal testified at his trial this week that he never assaulted or threatened Tursi, but he did threaten to reveal damaging information unless the lawyer changed his strategy in the 2010 trial.

According to the newspaper, the trial this week “is generating keen interest because it is so unusual for a defense attorney to implicate his client in a crime—and even less common for him to then turn around and claim the man is actually innocent.”

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