Yesterday in Miami, a criminal defense lawyer was starting his closing argument when his trousers began smoking, then burst into flames.
He was defending an arson case.
Stephen Gutierrez ran out of the courtroom, then returned to finish his argument, albeit with a pocket that was slightly singed.
His client had been charged with setting fire to his car. As he was arguing that the car had spontaneously combusted, Gutierrez’s pants started smoking.
Gutierrez denied that the fire in his pocket was a courtroom stunt; witnesses said he had been fiddling in his pocket right before his argument, according to the Miami Herald.
The source of the fire, Gutierrez maintained, was a faulty e-cigarette device. Batteries in those things have been known to go bad, after all.
Wary cops seized several frayed-looking e-cigarette batteries that seem to back up the lawyer’s story. They now will investigate.
After the incident, the judge made no contempt holding against Gutierrez; he’ll review the case and make that decision later.
But even if the fire was a trick in an effort to demonstrate spontaneous combustion, it didn’t work.
The jury convicted the defendant of second-degree arson.