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Former lawyer sentenced to 80 years for exchanging sex for legal services

Former San Antonio attorney Mark Benavides was sentenced to 80 years after being found guilty of exchanging legal services for sex with his clients.

SAN ANTONIO — Former attorney Mark Benavides has been sentenced to 80 years for six counts of continuing trafficking of persons. Benavides will serve 80 years for each count but the time will be served concurrently.

His attorney told the judge that Benavides and his legal team plan to appeal the charges.

The jury started deliberating around 1:45 Friday afternoon and took several hours to reach a decision.

At one point Friday, jurors asked for the television monitor to be brought into the jury room. During the trial, the jury watched a number of DVDs that depicted Benavides having sex with women.

The former lawyer says the filmed acts were consensual and role-playing. Prosecutors say the cries of pain from the women were real.

The sentencing process began on Wednesday when victims say Benavides demanded sex in exchange for legal service.

Today, Benavides' wife testified on behalf of her husband. Linda Benavides said she has been a stay-at-home mom for eleven years and both she and their two children are devastated by what has happened to their family.

On Thursday, Mark took the stand where six women testified that the former attorney forced them to have sex in return for legal services. While trying to sway a jury to give him a minimum sentence, Benavides said his downfall began when he started representing criminals.

He did admit on the stand that he had sex with a client in a jury room. He said because of his porn addiction, he made so many porn videos that he had to number them and make notations to keep them straight.

Benavides still has other charges pending. The judge has increased his bond for those cases.