Jury views graphic sex video in ex-SA lawyer's trial; juror faints

Mark Benavides charged with human trafficking

FLORESVILLE, Texas – Sexually explicit and vulgar video showing former San Antonio attorney Mark Benavides having rough sex with a 29-year-old female client in 2015 was viewed by a jury Tuesday during his trial on human trafficking charges.

The video was so graphic that a female juror fainted as the panel left the courtroom after asking for a brief recess.

Benavides is accused of taking female clients to a downtown motel for sex in exchange for legal services. He's also accused of video recordings of the encounters, which prosecutors said supports the charges. 

One of those clients, a 29-year-old woman, said she was a drug addict and prostitute when Benavides represented her in legal matters in 2015.

The woman, who was the state's first witness, often held her head in her hands and was obviously nervous when she told of at least 10 meetings at a motel with Benavides.

"I don't think he recorded us or anything the first time," she testified. "We just had sex."

But subsequent motel meetings were recorded, she said.

In the video played for the jury, Benavides could be heard making sexually explicit demands of the woman.

She said that she asked Benavides how he planned to use the videos.

"He said they were just for him," she testified. 

Prosecutor Meredith Chacon asked her if she had a choice.

"No," the woman answered. "He was gonna keep them anyway."

In her opening remarks, Chacon told the jury, "He used our justice system to acquire his women."

The woman was one of six women named in the indictment against Benavides.  

If convicted, Benavides could face up to life in prison.  

Prosecutors have indicated they plan to ask that the sentences be "stacked," meaning that they would run consecutively.

Benavides has applied for probation.

Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday before District Judge Dick Alcala.

About the Author:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.