60ºF

Closing arguments end in trial of ex-attorney accused of trading legal services for sex

Mark Benavides charged with 6 counts of continuous sex trafficking of humans

FLORESVILLE, Texas – Closing arguments in the trial of Mark Benavides, an ex-attorney charged with six counts of continuous trafficking of humans, have concluded.

Benavides is accused of trading legal services for sex with his female clients, then recording those sexual encounters.

During the trial. which began last Monday, San Antonio police detective Manual Morales testified that police found a filing cabinet at Benavides' home containing 246 of what the detective called "pornographic DVDs" that showed Benavides having sex with women who police said were Benavides' clients.

Some of the graphic and sexually explicit videos were played for jurors during the trial. One video was so graphic that a female juror fainted as the panel left the courtroom last Tuesday.

The women testified that in addition to recordings made in a motel, Benavides also had sex with them in jury and witness rooms at the courthouse.

The trial was moved from San Antonio to Floresville at the request of Benavides’ attorneys, who argued that to hold the trial where some of the alleged offenses occurred would be prejudicial to Benavides.

The prosecution and defense rested their case Tuesday morning. Benavides' lawyers rested after calling just one witness to the stand.

During closing arguments, the defense lodged passionate attacks against the women Benavides is accused of trafficking. Prosecutors on the other hand attacked Benavides during closing arguments. 

Each continuous sex trafficking of a person charge carries between 25 to 99 years to life in prison.


About the Author: