Posted Mar 09, 2012 08:40 pm CST
Updated: Yvonne Stern has reconciled with her husband, Texas personal injury attorney Jeffrey Stern, despite what authorities say was his role in arranging with his then-mistress to attempt to murder his wife.
But Stern is suing the ex-mistress, Michelle Cabrera Gaiser, for damages over the injuries she suffered when she was shot in the stomach on May 5, 2010 by a suspect identified by authorities as Damian Ricardo Flores, according to the Houston Chronicle. Flores, now 28, was criminally charged in the case, but a trial resulted in a hung jury. He is expected to be retried.
Meanwhile, another man, Nhut Nguyen, has been convicted of aggravated assault in an April 15, 2010 shooting at the Sterns’ Houston area home and sentenced to 45 years. Gaiser has agreed to plead guilty to solicitation of capital murder in exchange for a maximum sentence of 25 years. Jeffrey Stern is charged with solicitation of capital murder, and Gaiser is expected to testify against him at trial.
And that, says Gaiser’s defense attorney, James Stafford, is why Yvonne Stern filed suit. Stafford says his client is unlikely to be able to pay any damages while serving a hefty prison sentence. But through the civil litigation process, the Sterns hope to find out in advance what Gaiser will testify to in the criminal case against her former lover, Stafford contends.
The defense lawyer promises that Gaiser’s account of what transpired will shock the courtroom, but declined to provide specifics to the Chronicle.
“It’s not going to make him look like the little choirboy that he is pretending to be,” Stafford said of Jeffrey Stern. “And if Yvonne hears about his weird propensities, I don’t think she would be standing by her man.”
In response to Stafford’s claims, a spokesman for the defense team provided the following statement to the ABA Journal:
“Mrs. Stern acted independently in suing Michelle Gaiser for medical expenses and emotional distress. With only a bit more than four weeks before trial, this is by no means a ‘back door way for Jeffrey Stern’s lawyers to find out what Gaiser knows before his pending trial.’ This civil lawsuit is not part of the defense strategy. Yvonne Stern is a strong and independent woman acting to protect her family, marriage and children,” say attorneys for Jeffrey Stern, Paul Nugent and Heather Peterson.
Updated on March 12 to include above defense team statement.
ABAJournal.com: “Wife & Alleged Victim of Lawyer Accused in Contract Hit Case Holds His Hand En Route to Court”
ABAJournal.com: “Lawyer’s Mistress to Take Plea in Capital Murder Attempt on Lawyer’s Wife”