Attorneys Argue Over Allowing Women’s Testimony During Lawyer’s Sexual Assault Trial
Prosecutors say Javier Armengau sexually assaulted five different women: clients, mothers of clients, and a former employee.
Over the last week and a half, jurors have heard from all of them.
Thursday jurors heard from two other women claiming he engaged in sexual comments and sexual contact with clients.
The afternoon began with intense legal arguments about whether jurors should hear about behavior not included in the 19 counts Javier Armengau is charged with.
"What these women have testified to, so far, is all these behaviors that Mr. Armengau engaged in up until the time that he engaged in sexual activity with them. And these witnesses who will come in today will describe the same types of behavior…they will describe the type of grooming that was taking place," said Special Prosecutor Daniel Breyer, of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Defense attorney Jennifer Coriell disagreed:
"My client's right to due process, his right to a fair trial is being violated by allowing such testimony to be heard by the jury. And once you ring that bell, you can't un-ring it. And so if the court permits them to hear evidence of consensual acts, alleged by these two other women with Mr. Armengau, his right to a fair trial has been destroyed,” she argued.
Judge David Fais ruled in favor of the prosecution, allowing the women to testify, but not allowing 10TV to record them.
One woman, convicted of murdering her boyfriend in 2009, was represented by Armengau in that case.
She said while alone with her in a jail conference room, "He basically stated that he could rape me in the room and no one would believe me because my credibility was shot."
She admitted that she never complained to anyone about the comment, because she said she didn't think anyone would believe her.
Another woman, now 29, says Armengau represented her starting when she was 17, and while her attorney, engaged in a consensual sex with her some 30 times.
Asked how much she paid him for his legal services over the years, she replied "Nothing."
While this was playing out in the courtroom, the Ohio Supreme Court delivered another blow to Armengau.
Earlier this week, 10TV told you about the Columbus Bar Association asking for an emergency suspension of Armengau's law license, calling him a "danger to the legal profession and the community"
Armengau requested the court to delay that issue until the outcome of his criminal trial. Thursday the Supreme Court denied that request.
READ: Previous stories