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Former Florida prosecutor accused of pressuring woman into sex in exchange for help with case

Posted at 6:46 AM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 06:55:48-05

MIAMI (AP) — A former Florida prosecutor pressured a woman into having sex with him in exchange for help with her criminal case, authorities said.

Juan Mercado, 29, was arrested Wednesday in Miami-Dade County and charged with bribery, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement news release.

Mercado served as assistant state attorney with the 20th Judicial Circuit from May 2017 to February 2019. The circuit covers Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties.

The FDLE investigation showed that the woman was being prosecuted for domestic battery in Collier County, and Mercado offered to “make her case go away” in exchange for sex. Mercado was not the assigned prosecutor on the case but accessed records and provided information and advice to the woman.

After leaving the State Attorney's Office, Mercado opened up a private practice in Miami.

To avoid a potential conflict of interest, Mercado's case is being handled in the 12th Judicial Circuit, which includes DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Miami-Dade's jail records show that Mercado has posted bond, though the amount wasn't available. It wasn't clear if he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.