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Affair Could Trigger Miami Retrial

July 15, 1999

MIAMI (AP) _ A former city commissioner convicted of voter fraud is entitled to be retried if his lawyer acted unethically by having an affair with the defendant’s wife, a state court of appeals ruled.

The three-judge panel said Wednesday that a hearing should be held to determine whether a sexual relationship developed between Humberto Hernandez’s lawyer, Jose Quinon, and Hernandez’s wife, Esther.

Mrs. Hernandez claimed she had an affair with Quinon in a newspaper interview two months after her husband’s conviction, and she and Quinon had been seen in public, sharing a kiss in a bar. State prosecutors have said the Hernandezes and Quinon may have made up the story of the affair and staged the public display of affection as a legal maneuver.

The allegation of an affair prompted U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard to remove Quinon from the case and temporarily freeze the lawyer’s accounts. Quinon faces a bar inquiry into his conduct.

Hernandez was sentenced to nearly a year in jail after being convicted last year of a misdemeanor count of accessory after the fact to a vote fraud scheme that led to the reversal of the 1997 Miami mayoral elections. He is serving a separate four-year federal prison term on bank fraud charges.

Jeffrey Weiner, who now represents Hernandez, called a hearing into the purported affair ``crazy.″

``It’s just going to be embarrassing to everyone,″ he said. ``It could really get out of hand.″

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