Appeal may delay trial of ex-White House lawyer
Hartford (AP) - A former White House lawyer charged with trying to kill his wife in Connecticut is appealing a judge's rejection of his mental health defense.
John Michael Farren, who worked in both Bush administrations, has asked the Connecticut Appellate Court to overturn a May 1 decision by Stamford Superior Court Judge Richard Comerford.
Farren, 61, a former general counsel for Xerox Corp., is free on $750,000 bail and is representing himself in the criminal case. He has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, first-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor.
Authorities allege Farren beat his then-wife, Mary Margaret Farren, with a flashlight until she lost consciousness and later choked her at their New Canaan home in January 2010, two days after she served him with divorce papers and refused to drop the divorce case. She suffered a broken nose, broken jaw and other injuries, authorities said.
A message seeking comment was left for Farren on Tuesday.
It's not clear when the state's second-highest court will rule, and it's uncertain whether jury selection will go ahead as planned May 27 because of the appeal, Stamford State's Attorney David Cohen said. A jury is scheduled to begin hearing evidence June 17.
"We're trying to get that appeal dismissed," Cohen said. "We're prepared to go forward next week, but that may not happen."
When Comerford rejected the mental state defense, he told Farren that he would not allow him to make a mockery of the judicial system by employing more delay tactics and insisted the trial would go forward in June.
In December, Mary Margaret Farren won a $28.6 million judgment against Farren in a civil case for the injuries she suffered.
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