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A Florida lawyer who used to work as an assistant state attorney has been arrested for allegedly trading help with a criminal case for sex.
Juan Mercado, a 29 year old Hialeah resident, was taken into custody on a bribery charge Wednesday following the issuance of a warrant for his arrest. He was booked at the Miami-Dade Jail, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced in a news release this week.
An investigation led officials to conclude that Mercado — while working as an assistant state attorney with the 20th Judicial Circuit — traded his professional help for sex with an unnamed woman who was being prosecuted for domestic battery and whose case was being handled by his workplace.
Mercado allegedly told the woman that he could “make her case go away” in exchange for her having sex with him, and the two had what the FDLE described as a sexual relationship, according to the release.
The lawyer was able to access the necessary records to provide the defendant with advice although Mercado was not personally prosecuting the woman’s case, the FDLE said.
Mercado worked with the State Attorney's Office of the 20th Judicial Circuit from May 22, 2017 to February 5, 2019, when he resigned, a spokesperson for the office told USA Today. He opened a private practice in Miami following his departure, according to the New York Post.
Online jail records show that Mercado has since been released from custody and it was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf. The State Attorney’s Office of the 12th Judicial Circuit will be prosecuting his case, according to the FDLE.
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