Criminal Justice

Jury convicts ex-lawyer called 'pimp in a suit' without juror who fainted after graphic video

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A former San Antonio lawyer accused of trading sex with clients for legal services was convicted of trafficking on Tuesday by a jury that didn’t include a juror who fainted after watching a video of a rough sexual encounter.

Jurors in Wilson County, Texas, deliberated nearly four hours before convicting 48-year-old Mark Benavides on all six counts, MySanAntonio reports. He was accused of coercing videotaped sex encounters with six clients by promising he would be able to win their cases or reduce their legal problems.

The judge had excused the woman who fainted from the jury last week and appointed an alternate.

The graphic video was shown only to the jurors, but courtroom observers could hear the woman sobbing and saying, “Mark, it hurts! You’re hurting me. … Don’t be so rough.”

In closing arguments, prosecutor Meredith Chacon called Benavides “a pimp in a suit,” according to MySanAntonio.

Defense lawyers said the sexual encounters were consensual.

“Attorneys having sex with clients is unethical. Immoral. Frowned upon. Not highly suggested,” defense attorney Liza Rodriguez argued. “But it’s not illegal.”

Clarifies headline on April 5.

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