Criminal Justice

Ohio lawyer is convicted of rape; defense sees 'a miscarriage of justice in every way'

A Columbus, Ohio, criminal defense lawyer was convicted of rape and other sex crimes on Monday based on alleged conduct with two clients and a client’s mother.

Javier Armengau, 52, was convicted of rape, kidnapping, public indecency, four counts of sexual battery, and two counts of gross sexual imposition, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Armengau was acquitted on nine other counts involving alleged conduct with two other women, including a client’s mother who testified that Armengau tried to persuade her to perform oral sex on a judge in exchange for her son’s freedom. The same woman had testified that Armengau forced her to perform oral sex in a conference room outside the courtroom after her son was sentenced for a probation violation.

Armengau had maintained in trial testimony that all his accusers were lying. One of his lawyers, Jennifer Coriell, vowed to appeal, maintaining that the convictions were “a miscarriage of justice in every way.” She cited inconsistencies in witness testimony and said jurors were allowed to hear testimony that should have been barred, the Columbus Dispatch says.

Armengau was arrested last year after one of his accusers went to police, who secretly recorded a meeting at a restaurant between Armengau and the woman. The woman had claimed Armengau grabbed her breast and exposed himself when she came to his office to discuss her son’s case. Armengau was convicted of gross sexual imposition and public indecency in connection with the woman’s allegations, but he was acquitted on a kidnapping charge that contended Armengau restrained the woman during the assault.

Armengau is still licensed to practice, though the Columbus Bar Association sought a license suspension in a June 20 motion. The conviction can result in an interim suspension after ethics regulators receive a copy of the judgment.

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