Closing Arguments Wrap In Columbus Lawyer's Sex Assault Trial
After three weeks of graphic, conflicting testimony, the Javier Armengau trial has concluded, with jurors to start deliberating Wednesday morning.
Armengau is the attorney charged with sexually assaulting five women. His accusers are clients, the mothers of clients, and a former employee.
On Tuesday, he testified about a 10TV news report that he says played a role what he believes to be a conspiracy against him. The report that aired on 10TV on April 10th of last year broke the news of Armengau's arrest.
Columbus Police told 10TV they believed other women may have been victimized by Armengau. "We're hoping that maybe some people will contact us and let us know if they have similar allegations,” said Detective James Ashenhurst.
Armengau says that report is at least partially the basis of his belief that he's the victim of a conspiracy. "I saw the coverage,” he testified. “I believe it was on Channel 10.”
“And in your experience as a defense attorney, how many times have you seen that happen, where the police go out and ask for other accusers to come forward?” asked defense attorney Jennifer Coriell.
“I've not seen it," answered Armengau.
"Do you known when (accuser 2) (accuser 3) (accuser 4) and (accuser 5) came forward?” asked Coriell.
“It was all immediately after that production on TV,” Armengau said.
Armengau again accused prosecutors and police of fabricating a case against him, leading to another courtroom outburst.
"I will tell you that I have no doubt, no doubt whatsoever that you, and that lady sitting right there next to you have pressured witnesses into making statements that are untrue, and you have had witnesses testify and change their story,” Armengau said to Special Prosecutors Daniel Breyer and Melissa Schiffel. “I will say that under oath today, tomorrow, and any day. I know it, you know it, and she knows it. and hopefully they know it,” he said in a raised voice, referencing the jury.
That’s when Judge David Fais addressed Armengau:
“You know what, Mr. Armengau, I've warned you once. Answer the question and don't go beyond that. You understand what I'm saying?”
“Your Honor, I'm trying to answer the question,” Armengau answered.
Fais responded, “No you’re not. You don't listen very well."
Closing arguments began in the afternoon, concluding around 5:30.
"They have a responsibility to conduct a credible and responsible investigation,” said defense attorney Frederick Benton. “And not just drag any old claim, throw any old garbage against the wall and hope that something in the course of it may be stained or soiled. That's not prosecution, that's a witch hunt."
"When the facts and the law are not on your side, you blame the prosecutors,” Special Prosecutor Melissa Schiffel told jurors. “That's what his conspiracy theory is, because that is the theory, the defense of a desperate man. When all of these women come in here and tell their story and the facts aren't on your side, you blame the prosecutors. Everyone else is lying- has to be lying- if you believe that conspiracy theory, or he's guilty."
The jury begins deliberating Wednesday morning.