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Former White House lawyer is convicted of attempted murder

Posted Jul 14, 2014 7:03 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A former White House lawyer in both Bush administrations who was once the top lawyer at Xerox Corp. has been convicted of attempted murder.

A six-member jury in Stamford, Connecticut, convicted John Michael Farren, 61, on Friday after little more than a day of deliberations, report the Stamford Advocate, the Associated Press and the New Canaan Advertiser. He was convicted in the January 2010 flashlight beating of his then wife, Mary Margaret Farren, after she had served him with divorce papers.

The defense called no witnesses, but argued Farren didn’t attempt to kill his wife because he let her escape, and didn’t use either of two guns or a samurai sword kept in the home, according to the New Canaan Advertiser.

Mary Margaret Farren, a former lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, was unable to work after the attack because of brain injury. She testified that John Michael Farren squeezed her neck and knocked her unconscious multiple times. She was able to get away, she said, when he went to use the bathroom.

Farren had fired his original lawyers and was representing himself until a few weeks before the trial, when he asked for a lawyer and asked for permission to be tried in absentia. Judge Richard Comerford appointed Farren’s original lawyers, who had remained as stand-by lawyers throughout the proceedings. Farren appealed Comerford’s decision to reappoint the lawyers.

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