STAMFORD -- A former White House lawyer and former New Canaan resident who served in both Bush administrations says he has been made "indigent" and unable to effectively defend himself on charges he tried to kill his wife in 2010.
In a motion personally written by John Michael Farren seeking to have his criminal charges dropped, he charged that his former wife, Mary Farren, had "engaged in an aggressive course of conduct to deny the defendant any access to his personal financial resources to effectively defend himself in the criminal prosecution."
As a result, Farren, 59, said he has no money for a competent defense and both his criminal and civil lawyers are seeking to be released from the cases.
Farren is accused of attacking his then-wife with a large flashlight, breaking her jaw and bones in her face on Jan. 6, 2010, the day after she delivered divorce papers. Mary Farren escaped the couple's $4 million house after hitting the panic alarm and driving to a nearby house with her two young daughters, reports said.
John Farren spent six months in jail before his release to a psychiatric facility after posting $750,000 bond. He has since been released to live with family in West Hartford, but must wear a tracking device.
Farren's assets are frozen because of a $15 million civil suit filed by Mary Farren.
His attorneys are trying to determine how to pay for a mental evaluation they want for his defense against charges of attempted murder and first-degree strangulation.
A state judge turned down motions from the defendant's lawyers earlier this week that they be allowed to withdraw from his criminal and civil cases in part because he has not paid for their services since his arrest.
State Superior Court Judge Gary White on Monday denied the motions filed by criminal defense attorney Eugene Riccio and civil attorney Timothy Moynahan that could have allowed Farren to apply for a public defender.
In his motion to withdraw, Moynahan said that there has been a "complete breakdown of the attorney-client relationship." The one-page motion also said he and Farren have irreconcilable conflicts with regard to "strategy, procedure and direction" of the case.
In his single-page motion to withdraw, Riccio simply said that Farren -- who faces up to 60 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of five years -- had never retained him.
In Farren's motion to drop the charges, he said that the attorneys have been denied fees and resources for more than 30 months, rendering Farren's defense "ineffective." Due to a complete lack of funds, Farren said he has been unable to retain medical experts to evaluate and report on his mental state at the time of the incident for the purpose of assessing a defense of "mental disease or defect."
Since his arrest, Farren's motion says the state has been compelled by his former wife in a "coordinated and successful effort by the complainant's sizable legal team to impose financial barriers and roadblocks to the defendant in gaining his liberty and having access to personal funds for a legal defense of his choosing." The motion goes on to say that none of his four requests to obtain funds for his attorneys and personal obligations have been granted.
Even in his divorce case, Farren said that while he was compelled to participate, he was without funds to provide a meaningful defense.
As a result, the state made Farren "indigent" through the court-imposed barriers to his assets, he said in the motion.
It could not be determined when White may decide on motions to have the criminal charges against Farren dropped.
Farren has served as general counsel and vice president of external affairs for the Xerox Corp. and as under secretary of commerce for international trade under President George H.W. Bush and in the White House counsel's office under President George W. Bush.
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