Former Bush Lawyer John Farren Sentenced In Attempted Murder Of His Wife

images1096As we previously discussed, the criminal charges against former Bush White House lawyer John Michael Farren for the attempted murder of his then-wife Mary Margaret Farren, a former partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. He has now been convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.


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.

As we discussed earlier, John Michael Farren was a former White House attorney advising George W. Bush and the former general counsel of Xerox. 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 broken 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.

Farren, 60, failed to show up for the trial. 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. Farren has suggested that he was suffering from either a brain or mental illness at the time of the offense.

After being beaten by a flashlight and strangled, Farren said that she could not longer work due to her brain injury. She told the court that she still experiences terror from that night. She said that he was always a danger and that she had to walk on eggshells during the 15-year marriage so not to enrage him. She recounted on occasion where he kept her awake after a fight by putting flashlights in her face and yelling obscenities at intervals throughout the night.

The judge had clearly had enough of Farren and denied his motion to allowed to stay free pending appeal. Farren’s remarkable fall from grace is now complete.

50 thoughts on “Former Bush Lawyer John Farren Sentenced In Attempted Murder Of His Wife”

  1. The real point that I was trying to make is the consequences of not following James Madison’s “constitutional rule of law” government by both Republicans and Democrats.

    If our U.S. Constitution [a wartime charter] is fundamentally flawed then we debate and pass a constitutional amendment. Today government officials of both parties view the U.S. Constitution as optional when convenient and there is no real enforcement mechanism or penalty for lawless executive branch officials at the federal, state or local levels of government.

    Senator Patrick Leahy proposed a “Truth Commission” that would focus on future reform with minimal criminal prosecution for Bush and Obama officials. Today not only will neither party seek prosecution for misconduct and war crimes but reject Leahy’s “forgiveness with reform” proposal.

    Both parties want to return to “business as usual”. Democrats that denounced Bush have largely been silent with Obama on torture, drone assassinations (without due process), Guantanamo, etc. although Democrats usually receive a disproportionate amount of punishment from lawless authoritarianism. Next time a president comes to office and punishes Democrats, they can’t say a word about it because they gave Obama a pass.

    Things like warrantless domestic spying seem harmless and passive – these programs destroy lives and livelihoods of innocent Americans and innocent foreign citizens. Only due to fraudulent and excessive secrecy by the government is why voters aren’t aware of these government abuses.

  2. Karen:

    You are confusing people behaving badly, with the actual legal definition of their job. A US soldier is sworn to defend the Constitution, but when one doesn’t, do you attack the people that point out the duties the soldier was supposed to have carried out and the laws that the soldier violated? Ross is not saying the Obama administration is perfectly fine and the Bush administration was the devil. He is pointing out the crimes committed by members of the Bush administration. If his omission of the wrong doings of the Obama administration bothers you, why assume he has no issue with the current administration?

    If you cannot separate your politics from fact, maybe you need to stop and take a few deep breaths. I hate to break it to you, but claims about Obama as the ‘worst guy ever’ are pretty much just partisan hyperbole. Sure there are illegal things happening, and every American should be outraged, but why is it when someone points out the crimes committed when ol’ W was in charge, the defense is almost always ‘but Obama is worse!’?

    How about a simple suggestion. Why not acknowledge the crimes of Bush and friends, and then in the same breath, acknowledge the crimes of Obama and his pals? Neither is innocent, and to be perfectly honest, as long as people keep trying to play one side as the real bad guys, we will continue to have a broken nation led by the same kinds of criminals.

    You cannot excuse the bad behavior of one group by pointing out the bad behavior of another. Both are bad, stop pretending one is in any way better.

    Bush and Obama have both been terrible for the Nation. Honestly, trying to score which one is worse is like trying to pick out the better serial killer, or the nicer child molester. What is it about the sick joke of politic in this nation makes it impossible for us to call the entire rotten mess corrupt? Why is it that it always boils down to one side against another, when both sides are destroying the last remaining vestiges of the Constitution and the entire concept of the balance of power.

    Sorry, but If you can’t accept your side is bad too, then you are part of the problem, the same as Bush and Obama are.

  3. Ross:

    “Employees at the Department of Justice don’t serve any president or any party, they are non-partisan constitutional officers in their job duties and authorities.”

    Well, right, except Eric Holder clearly serves Obama, as does Lois Lerner and the IRS, apparently.

    I’m having difficulty taking you seriously. The IRS targeted conservatives, Lois Lerner pled the 5th and then admitted to willfully destroying evidence when she wiped her Blackberry and recycled it. The IRS conveniently had computer crashes for just about everyone in the probe, and is resisting outside help in recovering the data from the server. It claims the server was written over every 6 months even though it has a contract with a vendor to back up all data.

    And you think BUSH is the problem here with partisan politics in what is supposed to be unbiased government agencies? I am not saying that there has never been a problem with personal politics interfering with a government worker’s job, but Obama’s admin is breaking all records. And who is investigating Lois Lerner? Eric Holder, who has himself been found in contempt of Congress.

  4. Worldwide, most war crime indictments happen 30 or more years after the war crimes actually happen.

    Plaintiffs never forget and all it takes is a legitimate judicial system either here or internationally. Even though that no longer exists in the United States today, hopefully the American justice may be restored in the decades to come.

    Drone pilots could be a top target for war crime indictments in the decades to come also. Americans, including Ronald Reagan, used to support the precedent of the “Nuremberg Defense” – following orders is not a criminal defense to justify war crimes. Reagan believed not only torture should be prosecuted but any cruel punishment should be prosecuted.

    In 30 or more years, the United States may not be able to bully foreign prosecutors to ignore war crimes like we do today. Plaintiffs never forget and will seek justice for the rest of their lives, one day they will find a legitimate court to seek prosecution. Local American cops also have much to fear, they have been deputized with “DHS preemption & prevention” grants to participate in war crimes here in the United States.

  5. Paul C. Shulte:

    So if Bush or Obama were ever indicted for war crimes (Guantanamo, drones, torture, warrantless wiretapping, etc.), every DOJ employee involved would be an “accessory before the fact” in war crimes? If state fusion centers and local police participated they would also be accessories to war crimes against U.S. citizens?

    Is that what you are saying? Maybe Holder or a state prosecutor could still prosecute the Nixon DOJ officials.

    1. Ros – the statute of limitations is probably up on Nixon crimes, unless it is murder. Only those who assisted directly or indirectly would be culpable as accessories before or after the fact. And who would indict for war crimes?

  6. Ros – fyi the employees of the DOJ work for the President of the United States. Most are covered by civil service, but some are not, like Holder.

  7. The 2008 article by Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald quotes Goodling asking job applicants:

    “What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?”

    DOJ employees serve the law and U.S. Constitution – not any president or political party. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution is very clear on this.

  8. Employees at the Department of Justice don’t serve any president or any party, they are non-partisan constitutional officers in their job duties and authorities.

    1. Ros – that is not a loyalty oath? that is an improper question. Just like if an an prospective employer asks you if you are gay.

  9. Jonathan Turley could make a compelling argument that the worst prosecutorial misconduct is from “inaction” – legitimate cases prosecutors don’t pursue in the first place.

    Robert Jackson, Nuremberg Prosecutor/Supreme Court Justice, warned that was the worst abuse of prosecutors – when they can pick and choose their own cases.

    Citizen plaintiffs can file civil cases “pro se” (without an attorney) but not in criminal cases, citizens are dependent on prosecutors so “inaction” is many times the worst corruption by prosecutors. That’s the real danger from a political Department of Justice or state attorney general: prosecutors not protecting citizens based on their political leanings.

    Would love to see a Turley post on this type of prosecutorial misconduct.

    1. Ros – the UK allows private prosecution of criminal offenses. I have always thought we should allow that here.

  10. Here are three articles but couldn’t pull up the links (operator error):

    1) “Colleagues cite partisan focus by justice official” New York Times 5-12-07 by Eric Lipton.

    2) “A white house where ideology trumps talent or competence” Miami Herald and Seattle Times 8-3-08 by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

    3) “Monica’s own Monica problem” Washington Post 5-24-07 by Dana Milbank

  11. Government employees have “supreme” loyalty in their job duties and authorities to the U.S. Constitution – not to any president including George W. Bush. Goodling and other DOJ personnel tried to enforce such a practice in hiring DOJ employees.

    Article VI of the U.S. Constitution covers loyalty to the supreme law of the land for all government personnel (federal, state, local).

    1. Ross – would that be why the Inspector General found all sorts of Obama stickers and posters in cubicles at the IRS?

      I still need a cite to this loyalty oath you are complaining about.

  12. Paul C. Shulte,

    You got that wrong, Monica Goodling was intentionally trying to purge the DOJ including U.S. Attorneys. Goodling also instituted a defacto “loyalty oath” to George W. Bush which violated Article VI of the U.S. Constitution that prospective employees had to agree to in order to get hired.

    Goodling was a recent law student from Regency University with little work experience. Her “Waterloo” was firing experienced U.S. Attorneys (the nation’s best federal prosecutors). Those prosecutors very quickly turned the tables on her. (Lesson: When firing federal prosecutors make sure it’s legal).

    The Washington Post did an extensive series of articles about this issue which I’ll post later. The New York Times also had some great reporting.

    Also forgot to include in the previous post about Scooter Libby being convicted of a felony for outing a CIA agent, Valerie Plame. That felony is very accurately covered in the non-fiction movie “Fair Game”.

  13. Paul,

    For felonies it’s an automatic suspension….when convicted it’s an automatic revocation…. Depending on CT rules of discipline he may or may not be entitled to a hearing because it’s a summary issue. Regardless he does not have the ability to practice once charged.

  14. Ross thank you, and you wonder why I think justice is an oxymoron…. I have seen more perversion by the courts that I will admit…. It’s sad when the prosecutor and judge play for the same team….

  15. It’s is my understanding that under most state Rules of a Professional Responsibility, ethics…. If a person is charged with a misdemeanor they state licensing boards/discipline may take action after a verdict is rendered. However, all felonies have an automatic suspension provision. If they are not prosecuted or found not guilty etc they will still most likely have to go before the character and fitness committee. If they are convicted of the felony depending on what type they may petition for reinstatement, yadda, yadda, yadda…

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