Connecticut Court Issues Bench Warrant For Former Bush Lawyer In Spouse Abuse Case

John Michael Farren has had a career that most lawyers would envy. He is a former White House attorney advising George W. Bush and the former general counsel of Xerox. He is now however a criminal defendant with a bench warrant out for his arrest. Farren, 60, failed to show up for a trial on his alleged beating of his former wife, Mary Margaret Farren, 46. We previously discussed the case. Mary Farren suffered extensive injuries in the beating at their New Canaan Mansion after she said she refused to reconsider her demand for a divorce. He was criminally charged with attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault and risk of injury to a child.

In addition to serving as Deputy White House Counsel in the Office of Counsel to the President from 2007 to 2009, he served as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade at the United States Department of Commerce and head of the International Trade Administration. He also did a stint with the Republican National Committee.

The horrific attack left her with a broken jaw and broke nose that took place at their mansion. A video from the hospital documented a gash to the scalp, hair matted with blood, two black eyes, bruising all over the face and the right side of her throat cut in addition to cuts and bruises on the rest of her body. She sued Farren for millions and he decided to represent himself — an extremely bad decision in such a case.

Judge Robert Genuario said that his chambers received an email from Farren stating that he was being treated at a Hartford hospital and could not make it to court.

Genaurio granted a default motion against Farren but Farren could file a motion to vacate later to seek a trial. He better hurry. The Court is proceeding with testimony on damages, which will be difficult to get reversed.

If Farren was hospitalized, it is usually a good basis for a continuation if you are representing yourself. However, Farren reportedly failed to respond to inquiries from the court. He could face an effort to seize his accounts and home while trying to fund his criminal defense. In a true reversal of fortunes, he has indicated that he lacks money for a criminal defense.

Farren has suggested that he was suffering from either a brain or mental illness at the time of the offense. He could face 70 years on the criminal charges. His plan to raise an insanity defense is a difficult but perhaps the only viable defense. Connecticut’s standard however is better than many states that have pared down the defense to an extremely narrow range of mental illness. Here is the standard:

Sec. 53a-13. Lack of capacity due to mental disease or defect as affirmative defense. (a) In any prosecution for an offense, it shall be an affirmative defense that the defendant, at the time he committed the proscribed act or acts, lacked substantial capacity, as a result of mental disease or defect, either to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to control his conduct within the requirements of the law.

Farren received his bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University, a master’s degree in public policy analysis from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and a law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Mary Farren is a partner at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Source: Stamford

15 thoughts on “Connecticut Court Issues Bench Warrant For Former Bush Lawyer In Spouse Abuse Case”

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  2. Farren asked for and received permission to represent himself in an insanity defense to teh crime. I can’t wait for the opening statement to the jury:

    “Ladies and gentlemen, I am John Michael Farren former Counsel to the President under President George W. Bush, corporate vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Xerox. From 1989 to 1992, I was Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade at the United States Department of Commerce and head of the International Trade Administration. During the 1988 United States presidential election, I was deputy director of former President George H. Bush’s transition team. During the 1992 United States presidential election I was deputy campaign manager for the Bush-Quayle Re-election Committee.

    And I stand here today an innocent man not guilty of beating my wife to a bloody pulp because, you see, I am quite crazy.”

  3. “He is a former White House attorney advising George W. Bush and the former general counsel of Xerox.”


    I will not do it … no I really won’t … losing strength … bubbling over! Ok I can’t stop it: It’s just more damn Republican “family” values.

    Whew. There it’s out and I feel much better.

  4. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.
    –Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Buck v. Bell, 1927.

    I am studying American law. Remulak is in need of a body of law. Back on my planet we rule by Fiat and that is not a car.

  5. He might be trying the insantity defense out of Conn., but he’s going to have a more difficult time with that if he can be proven to have left the state and he can then get nicked for a federal crime under 18 USC section 1073 (Interstate Flight to Avoid Prosecution {for attempted murder}).

  6. Strange story….after I read davidbluefish’s comment, Ii did a google search and found this article. It’s dated Dec 11, 2013 but seems to be almost the exact same story as posted in 2010. It would be interesting to see the most recent happenings on this case.

    No-show attorney hit with default judgment
    John Nickerson
    Published 11:25 am, Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  7. This happened on 1/6/2010 …..Soon to be 4 years ago.

    “At John Michael Farren’s first appearance before trial Judge Robert Genuario in Stamford on Wednesday, Farren said he believed the civil trial shouldn’t take place until after his criminal trial.”

    Has he had visitation rights with his kids for four years? Has he paid support? Has he worked on his mental heath? Does his wife feel safe?

    In my neighborhood, both (physically & financially), this guy would be on his third year of his 5 or 10 (?) year jail sentence.

    There is no doubt, a two tiered justice system exists in this country of “law”.
    …. Three, if your a too big to fail business.

  8. I have no idea what kind of lawyer he is, but as a human being he is sorely lacking.

    I do hope the Connecticut Bar finds the moral fortitude to do the right thing. Of course, there seems to be a bifurcated system of justice, with one serving the rich and connected, and another for the rest of us. We shall just have to wait and see what comes of this. I look forward to a liveblog play by play followup.

  9. If was really be treat at a hospital wouldn’t that be pretty easy to prove? He sounds like a typical Bush appointee but then it would seem that BUSH does not have a monopoly on lying appointees.

    I wish his Exwife good luck in her case and hope that the bar will take appropriate steps to disbar him.

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