Criminal Justice

Ex-White House Lawyer to Assert Insanity Defense in Attempted Murder Case

A former White House lawyer accused of trying to strangle his wife and beating her with a flashlight will plead not guilty by reason of insanity, according to his lawyers.

Lawyers are seeking a state-paid mental health evaluation for the accused man, John Michael Farren, reports. Farren is a former deputy counsel to George W. Bush and a former general counsel at Xerox Corp.

The lawyers have unsuccessfully sought to withdraw from the case because Farren has not paid their fees, the story says. Farren claims he doesn’t have the money because of a $4.1 million pre-judgment remedy against him obtained by his wife. Prosecutors say the remedy frees up funds for Farren’s divorce lawyers.

Farren’s wife, lawyer Mary Margaret Farren, had claimed in her civil suit that the beating had affected her ability to continue working at her $300,000-a-year job at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.

Lawyer Eugene Riccio said he has had to do a huge amount of work as the case is “careening toward trial,” yet he is going unpaid, according to the account by “Unless they discover shale oil in my back yard, that would be a substantial financial hit to me,” he said.

Prior coverage: “Ex-White House Lawyer Headed to Trial for Attempted Murder After Plea Negotiations Fail” “Ex-White House Lawyer Accused of Murder Attempt Checks Out of Psychiatric Center”

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