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Jury finds former attorney guilty of exchanging services for sex

Former attorney Mark Benavides (SBG San Antonio)

A jury has found a former lawyer guilty of exchanging sex for legal services.

During closing arguments, prosecutors said Benavides was only worried about himself when he forced as many as six female clients to have sex with him in exchange for legal aid.

Prosecutors say Benavides used force, fraud and coercion to transport his female clients to a Downtown motel and recorded sexually graphic encounters with them on video. They allege Benavides targeted women who were drug addicts or prostitutes because if they made an outcry no one would believe them.

“Ladies and gentlemen the system let each and every one of these girls down,” said Jay Norton, a prosecutor for the state. “This is the opportunity for the system to say we were wrong.”

Prosecutors say Benavides used force, fraud, and coercion to transport his female clients to a downtown motel and recorded sexually graphic encounters with them on video.

They allege that Benavides targeted women who were drug addicts or prostitutes because if they made an outcry no one would believe them.

“He committed fraud against our system,” said prosecutor Meredith Chacon. “There is nothing more you need to do than go through these jury verdict forms, go straight to the middle, and you find him guilty of each and every count for trafficking these girls.”

Benavides’ defense attorneys argued the continuous trafficking charges against their client were trump up.

Benavides’ attorneys say the sexually graphic videos were taken out of context and were used to rile the jury up and play on their emotions.

“We were not going to victimize these women by showing these offensive videos in open court while you all had to watch their most intimate moments,” said defense attorney Lisa Rodriguez. “Moments they were promised were going to be private.”

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