FORT WORTH (CN) - "Affluenza" killer Ethan Couch's "rock star" Mexican attorney criticized his own government and the people who've sent him hate mail since he agreed to fight extradition for the fugitive 18-year-old.
Fernando Benitez, of Tijuana, said he has received hate mail since he was hired on Dec. 29 to represent Couch, the day after he and his mother Tonya were arrested in Mexico.
"I am pretty disappointed at some of the emails I have got," Benitez told the BBC on Sunday. "They don't know anything about me. They don't know what I am doing."
Benitez said he sleeps "like a baby" despite the criticism for taking the case.
"You can't appease everybody so I am going to appease myself and I am going to do what I think is right," he said. "I have more experience than most people in dealing with what's right and wrong so I am going to let my own moral compass be the guide."
The Couches were arrested on Dec. 28 in Puerto Vallarta, after being on the run from Texas authorities for two weeks. Tonya Couch, 48, was deported days later and was arrested by U.S. Marshals upon arrival in Los Angeles. If convicted of hindering apprehension , she could be sentenced to up to 10 years in state prison.
Couch stirred public outrage when he was sentenced in 2013 to 10 years probation and therapy for killing four people in south Fort Worth in 2013 while driving drunk on stolen beer. He vanished in December after failing to check in with a probation officer, after a Twitter user posted a video that appears to show him playing beer pong. He is prohibited from drinking while on probation.
Benitez won a three-day stay of deportation for Couch after filing a writ of amparo on Dec. 29, a constitutional protection similar to a writ of habeas corpus.
Benitez argued that Couch has not committed any crime in Mexico. He declined to say who is paying for his legal services.
"My interest is that if they are looking for his extradition to the United States, that it proceeds only according to the constitution and the law," Benitez told NBC-affiliate KXAS-TV in Dallas.
Benitez made headlines in 2014 when he represented U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who was accused of crossing into Mexico with several weapons in his vehicle. Prosecutors eventually dropped charges and Tahmooressi was set free after spending more than 200 days in jail.
Benitez made headlines in 2011 when he represented the powerful and wealthy politician Jorge Hank Rhon, a former mayor of Tijuana, the owner of Mexico's largest sports betting company, Grupo Caliente, and a Tijuana racetrack. Federal authorities raided his home in 2011 and seized 88 guns, two of which allegedly could be linked to homicides by ballistic evidence. Benitez argued successfully that the raid was conducted without a search warrant and that the evidence was all inadmissible, resulting in the charges being dropped.
Benitez said it would be in "poor taste" to speculate on his odds of winning Couch's case.
"I think we need to get the response back from the authorities," he told the BBC. "Once I know what their position is, I can tell you if they are right or wrong."