Wife of former White House lawyer sues for $30M
STAMFORD -- The wife of a former White House lawyer -- who police say tried to kill his spouse in a vicious beating with a flashlight this month -- is suing her husband for $30 million in a civil lawsuit filed last week at state Superior Court in Stamford.
Mary Farren, 43, was beaten unconscious with a flashlight and strangled before she regained consciousness and fled her New Canaan home Jan. 6 with her two young daughters, telling police her husband attacked her over a divorce she sought because of his volatile temper, court documents state.
That night, police charged her husband, John Michael Farren, 57, with attempted murder.
Last Wednesday, a lawyer for Mary Farren filed a civil suit against her husband at state Superior Court in Stamford. In an affidavit, Mary Farren asked the courts to grant her a $30 million pre-judgment remedy because she is injured and cannot work. She claimed she may lose income from her husband because he could be imprisoned for 30 years if convicted.
She argued that she did not want her husband using his assets, including their $4 million home on Wahackme Road, to post his $2 million bond. He is being held at the Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown, his lawyers said.
John Michael Farren, who once worked as a lawyer in both Bush administrations and as Xerox general counsel, was unemployed for more than a year before allegedly attacking his wife, court papers say.
"Given the community in which we live, and the station of living to which we are accustomed, and our plans for the future life and education of our children, the defendant's obligations to support his children and me are substantial," Mary Farren, an attorney for the firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, wrote in an affidavit.
In the lawsuit, Farren said she has lived in terror of her husband since the incident. She said based on her husband's "past associations and resources," she needs bodyguards and other personal security measures.
Tim Moynahan, a Waterbury attorney representing John Michael Farren in both the civil suit and his divorce case, said since his client's past associations include U.S. presidential administrations, they do not warrant the need for bodyguards. He would not comment directly about the money sought by Mary Farren.
"These are serious, troubling and sad circumstances for both Mike and Mary and I don't want to exacerbate the situation," Moynahan said.
The request for the $30 million pre-judgement remedy is to go before a judge at state Superior Court in Stamford, but a hearing date has not yet been scheduled, according to the state Judicial Branch's online database.
In court documents, Mary Farren detailed her husband's assets. He had several bank accounts containing hundreds of thousands of dollars, one with $1.8 million and another with $1 million.
Calls seeking comment from the Greenwich offices of attorney Wayne Effron, whose law firm is representing Mary Farren, were not returned Wednesday.
In his criminal case, John Michael Farren pleaded not guilty during a hearing last week. He faces charges of attempted murder, first-degree assault and first-degree kidnapping. He is due back in court Feb. 16 on those charges.
Farren became enraged after his wife told him she wanted to talk about divorce papers she filed that week, police said. He tackled her, pulled out her hair and began hitting her with a metal flashlight, a police report states. Mary Farren passed out and awoke to her husband strangling her. She lost her sight, but was somehow able to press a panic button that set off an alarm and alerted police.
Mary Farren escaped from the bedroom as her husband retreated to a bathroom with a large knife, threatening to kill himself, the police report states. She gathered her two young daughters and, bleeding profusely, ran to a neighbor's house on Weed Street. When police arrived, she told them her husband was trying to kill her.
John Michael Farren has served as general counsel and vice president of external affairs for the Xerox Corp. and served as undersecretary of commerce for international trade under President George H.W. Bush and in the White House counsel's office under President George W. Bush. He worked as a deputy counsel for George W. Bush from 2007 until the president left office.