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Attorney arrested after failing to appear for hearing in case of former client

Mark Benavides facing sex charges in related case

SAN ANTONIO – Attorney Mark Benavides was arrested Thursday after failing to appear in Judge Sid Harle’s 226th District Court to testify in a hearing on a motion for a new trial filed by a former client.

On Friday, in custody and wearing handcuffs, Benavides was in court.

Benavides’ former client’s motion for a new trial claims that she deserves a new trial and alleges that Benavides’ representation in an intoxication manslaughter case pending against her was “colored and was a conflict of interest.”

The woman received a 15-year prison term as part of a plea bargain Benavides negotiated. She testified that she had coerced sex with Benavides on multiple occasions.

The woman said that Benavides told her the sex was necessary, in her words, “to keep her lawyer happy.”

When asked under oath about the woman’s allegations, Benavides repeatedly answered: “At this point, on the advice of counsel, I have to invoke my Fifth Amendment rights.”

The woman is among more than a dozen women, two of whom prosecutors say were minors, who made similar claims that Benavides would have coerced sex with them and would document the sexual trysts on video.

Benavides has been charged with promotion of prostitution, sexual assault of child and possession of child pornography in conjunction with those cases and is scheduled to go on trial July 31.

Harle will review written recommendations made by lawyers on both sides concerning the woman’s motion for a new trial and will submit his findings to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

The court will make a decision on her motion.

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