Odd News

Defense lawyer's pants catch fire during arson trial

The lawyer blamed an e-cigarette battery.

The lawyer blamed an e-cigarette battery.  (REUTERS/Christian Hartmann, File)

Jurors trying to assess the truthfulness of defense lawyer Stephen Gutierrez's closing arguments in an arson trial Wednesday may have been dismayed to notice that his pants were literally on fire.

Witnesses say the lawyer had to flee the Miami courtroom with smoke billowing from his pocket, the Miami Herald reports.

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When he returned, the lawyer, who'd been seen fiddling in his pocket, blamed a faulty e-cigarette battery.

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Gutierrez said the pocket blaze wasn't an attempt to demonstrate the innocence of his client, who was accused of setting his own car on fire.

Gutierrez argued that the vehicle spontaneously combusted, but his client was ultimately convicted of second-degree arson.

Prosecutors are investigating the courtroom incident, and the judge could hold Gutierrez in contempt of court if he was found to be staging a stunt, the Herald reports.

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