A Miami defense lawyer stunned a courtroom Wednesday when his pants reportedly appeared to catch fire during closing statements at the trial of an accused arsonist.
According to the Miami Herald, attorney Stephen Gutierrez was representing Claudy Charles, who was accused of setting his own car on fire intentionally. Gutierrez had begun closing statements, arguing that his client’s car caught fire by way of spontaneous combustion, when spoke began billowing from his pant pocket.
Lawyer's pants on fire during closing argument in arson trial … there's nothing left for me to do here. https://t.co/4UrClGLtPD
— Lowering the Bar (@loweringthebar) March 9, 2017
According to the newspaper, Gutierrez had been fiddling in his pocket just before it appeared to catch fire.
Though the timing and context would certainly call into question whether the pants fire was an accident, Gutierrez reportedly claimed the fire was not staged when he returned to the courtroom after briefly exiting.
There were no injuries, but spectators were startled and angry.
“A lot of people could have been hurt,” a witness told the Miami Herald.
According to the newspaper, Miami-Dade police are investigating the incident, and have taken e-cigarette batteries into evidence.
After all that, Charles was found guilty of second-degree arson.