SAN ANTONIO – The woman who was a major player in a shocking sex case that brought down former attorney and judicial candidate Mark Benavides was in court Thursday for her trial on intoxication manslaughter charges.
The case is unrelated to Benavides' case, in which he was convicted on continuous human trafficking charges.
Benavides was sentenced to 80 years in prison for exchanging his legal services for sex with dozens of clients. He recorded videos of many of those sexual encounters.
Benavides in 2017 negotiated a plea deal for the woman in her intoxication manslaughter case, in which she is charged with striking and killing a pedestrian in June of 2013.
She claimed that she had sex with Benavides in hopes of getting probation. Instead, the deal Benavides made was for a 15-year prison sentence
The woman, whose identity KSAT 12 News is not disclosing due to the nature of her claims, appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which put aside the plea deal and a trial was ordered.
"It's challenging in the sense that a lot of that evidence is no longer available," Guillermo Lara, the woman's lawyer, said Thursday when asked about the difficulty in trying a case from 2013. "You think about witnesses and credibility statements about things that have taken place years before."
Lara said the Benavides case is not relevant to the intoxication manslaughter case -- at least not yet.
"In terms of guilt and innocence, it really doesn't play a role," he said.
Lara said that if his client is convicted, it will likely be introduced as mitigating evidence in the punishment phase of her trial.
"We'd bring some of that information up, so that the jury is aware of every detail of the woman's life," Lara said.
Jury selection resumes Tuesday.
If she is convicted on the manslaughter charges, the woman could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.