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Miami lawyer's pants catch fire during arson trial

By Daniel Uria
Miami lawyer's pants catch fire during arson trial
A lawyer in Miami's pocket began emitting smoke while defending a client in an arson case after a faulty e-cigarette battery caught fire. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 9 (UPI) -- A Miami lawyer's pants caught on fire while defending his client in an arson case on Wednesday afternoon.

Smoke began to rise out of 28-year-old attorney Stephen Gutierrez's pants after he had been seen fiddling with his pocket while arguing that his client Claudy Charles did not intentionally set his car on fire.

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"It was surreal," a courtroom observer told the Miami Herald.

Gutierrez rushed out of the courtroom and returned a few minutes later, claiming the sudden fire was the result of a faulty e-cigarette battery and not part of a staged stunt to illustrate his defense.

Charles was found guilty and prosecutors have launched an investigation into the bizarre incident.

Police collected several e-cigarette batteries from Gutierrez's pocket for evidence and Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman may find him in contempt of court.

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