Witnesses Challenge Accusers In Sex Assault Trial Of Columbus Lawyer
Is a local attorney a serial sex offender, or the victim of a plot to take him down?
A witness says one of Javier Armengau's accusers is a liar who devised a plan to set him up.
Armengau is on trial, accused of sexually assaulting five women multiple times over several years. On Thursday, jurors heard from witnesses challenging the stories of those accusers.
The first witness on the stand was Columbus Police Officer Keith Ferrell.
He told jurors about a report he took from a woman in April of 2009.
"She had hired an attorney several years prior, I believe in 2005, and during that time she had been sexually assaulted by him multiple times," Ferrell recounted.
The attorney she was referring to was Javier Armengau, although Ferrell said she wasn't able to provide the correct spelling of his last name, or the address of his office.
The woman said Armengau was representing her son, and provided graphic descriptions of the alleged assaults on her.
"As she was leaving he pushed her against the door and pulled down his pants,” Ferrell read from his report. "He made a statement according to her, ‘you know this is just between us, you want us to represent your kid don't you?’"
Ferrell said he took her statement and asked her to get him the details on the attorney's name and address.
He says despite repeated attempts on his part, she never followed through.
"With the caseloads we have, it starts with the victim. And if they're cooperating with us, that enables us to move forward with the case.”
“And would you consider (the woman) to have been cooperative with your investigation?” asked defense attorney Jennifer Coriell.
“I would say not responsive would be the word I would use,” answered Ferrell.
Four years later, after Armengau's arrest on another case, she re-contacted police to pursue the case.
Shirley Koval lived with one of Armengau's other accusers, who was also the mother of a client.
She testified her friend was furious with Armengau and hatched a plot against him.
"Because she said that she's paid Javier over $50,000, her and her family, and that he wasn't doing his job, that all he was doing was screwing her son over."
She says the woman set up a meeting at Armengau's office, during which she told police he sexually assaulted her.
Koval says she later admitted nothing had happened.
"The last story was that she lied, that she was just doing this because she could sue Javier and maybe get her son another attorney," Koval testified.
She said seeing 10tv footage of Armengau after his arrest changed her mind about participating in the plot.
"I had told (accuser) after I seen Javier on TV that I wanted no part of what she was doing, that she was about to put an innocent man behind bars."
Jurors also heard from a woman who owned the building that held Armengau's office in Marion. At least one of the accusers testified she was sexually assaulted on a couch in that office.
On Thursday, the woman who owned and also worked in that building told jurors there has never been a couch in that office.
Testimony resumes Friday, when Javier Armengau is expected to take the stand in his own defense.
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