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A former Florida lawyer who made headlines when his pants caught on fire during an arson trial in 2017 was recently charged with cocaine possession, authorities said.
Stephen Gutierrez, 32, was arrested on Monday night after being pulled over for driving with a broken headlight, the Miami Herald reported.
During the traffic stop, a Miami-Dade police officer noticed a bulge in Gutierrez’s pocket, which he thought was a knife.
It turned out to be a cylinder container with a bag of white powder inside, according to an arrest report.
As the cop inspected the substance, Gutierrez blurted out, “That’s cocaine,” the report alleged.
Gutierrez’s arrest came after his license to practice law was revoked in October, Florida Bar records show.
The ex-attorney gained nationwide notoriety four years ago when he represented a man accused of torching his own car for the insurance money.
During the March 2017 trial, Gutierrez was arguing that the blaze may have been caused by spontaneous combustion — when his own pants erupted in flames.
Gutierrez went running out of the courtroom, with smoke pouring out of his right pocket, the Herald reported at the time.
He returned to court unharmed and blamed the battery of his e-cigarette for igniting his pocket.
Miami-Dade prosecutors concluded the fire was a stunt “meant to illustrate the feasibility of his spontaneous combustion theory of defense.”
But Gutierrez wasn’t charged in the incident, as prosecutors said they couldn’t prove he acted with criminal intent.
He pleaded guilty to Florida Bar violations, including filing a fake insurance claim related to the arson case, the Herald reported.
Gutierrez was taken to jail following his arrest Monday and posted bond on Tuesday morning. Jail records didn’t list whether he had an attorney who could comment.
With Post wires
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