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Former White House lawyer seeks new trial in assault case

STAMFORD -- As lawyers filed new motions seeking to overturn his conviction, former White House attorney J. Michael Farren was brought from the Bridgeport Correctional Center to Stamford in an aborted attempted to be freed on his $1 million bond while he waits to be sentenced on his attempted murder conviction in the brutal 2010 beating of his ex-wife in their New Canaan home.

Last week a jury found Farren guilty on all counts against him, including attempted murder, first-degree assault and risk of injury to a child, stemming from Farren's attack on his then-wife, Mary Margaret Farren, on Jan. 6, 2010, two days after she had served him with divorce papers. He faces a maximum of 50 years in prison when he is sentenced in September.

A new one-page motion filed Monday by Farren's defense attorney Eugene Riccio seeking to be given a new trial under Farren's Sixth Amendment right to choose his own counsel, as well as unspecified arguments under the Fifth Amendment, which protects American citizens' right to due process, and the Fourteenth Amendment -- the equal protection clause.

The motion also argues that his trial judge, Richard Comerford, prejudiced the jury by not instructing them before deliberations to not make unfavorable inferences of Farren's guilt based on Farren's request to be absent from his own trial.

Two weeks ago Comerford granted Farren's last-minute request to be absent from his own trial citing what he said was his lack of psychological strength to hear the evidence against him.

After five days of testimony, during which no witnesses were presented in Farren's defense, a nine-member jury convicted Farren of attempted murder and other charges after two days of deliberations.

Both Riccio and a Stamford bail bondsman Phillip Foddiman filed requests Tuesday for Farren to be brought to the courthouse from the Bridgeport Correctional Center to be bonded out, according to court papers.

Both Foddiman and Riccio declined comment on whether Farren had planned to bond out and changed his mind.

Following last week's verdict, Comerford gave Farren a $1 million bond, although prosecutors argued for it to be much higher, saying he remained a danger to his former wife. In his decision, Comerford cited the fact that Farren had without fail complied with his conditions of release since June 2010 when he was let go on a $750,000 bond.

Since the attack, Farren has made numerous legal filings and appeals, which prosecutors have said is a concerted effort to undermine the legal progress toward trial. The start of the trial was delayed for four years.

Those maneuvers included an attempt to challenge Comerford's decision to reappoint Riccio and a second attorney Timothy Moynahan as Farren's defense team after Farren changed his mind about defending himself, seeking a change of venue, and arguing that he was unable to mount a competent defense because his financial assets had been frozen.

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