Bar Asks For Suspension of Attorney Accused of Sex Crimes
The Columbus Bar Association calls Javier Armengau a "present danger to the community and the legal profession".
It is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to immediately suspend his law license, this as Armengau is fighting the legal battle of his life against more than a dozen sex charges.
The Columbus Bar Association says this is only the second time in 25 years it has asked the Court for an emergency suspension of an attorney's license.
Though Armengau remains innocent until proven guilty, the bar says for the public's protection, this can't wait.
At the start of his criminal trial last week, prosecutors described Javier Armengau as a serial sexual predator. "The evidence will show the power of the Defendant and how he controlled these women, how he controlled (them) to prey upon them."
The five accusers are clients or mothers of clients, and a former employee.
But in a complaint filed with the Ohio Supreme Court, a Special Prosecutor and the Columbus Bar Association say action against him cannot wait for a verdict, saying, "he (must) immediately be stopped from continuing these unprofessional practices."
The complaint only mentions the criminal charges Armengau already faces, focusing on new allegations ranging from conflicts of interest to misuse of client money, to swapping legal services for sex.
It says he "comingled his personal money with client funds..." leading investigators to the "inescapable conclusion...that he must have misappropriated client funds" and mixed in his own money to hide it.
The motion accuses Armengau of numerous ethics violations, including a sexual relationship with a client starting when she was 17.
In an interview with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the woman, now 30 years old, says they had a 12 year on again/off again affair.
She says "he never sexually assaulted her," calling their relationship "dating".
She denies exchanging sex for legal services, but says "she has never paid money to Armengau for his legal services, nor has her mother," who also says she had sex with him.
She says "she felt she needed to do whatever to keep him on her 'team' and close to her," saying "I guess he kinda made me feel like I, not had to, but obligated…" an admission she says "kind of made her feel like a prostitute."
Armengau, responding to the Bar Association, stands firm that he's done nothing wrong, listing dozens of cases where he's beaten prosecutors, saying "here is why they have you working full-time on me."
The Bar Association says he's "a lawyer out of control, and he should not be allowed to continue on this reckless course".
The Ohio Supreme Court has given Armengau until Friday to respond to the Bar Association's motion.
It's not known how soon after that the Justices could rule.
Armengau's attorney said she could not comment.