STAMFORD — A former White House attorney who nearly bludgeoned his wife to death with a flashlight wants to delay paying her a $30 million settlement.
The attorney for Michael J. Farren asked Superior Court Judge Robert Genuario in Stamford on Monday to stop Mary Margaret Farren from collecting on a $28.6 million civil settlement until her client’s U.S. Supreme Court appeal is heard.
Michael Farren, 63, who served as an attorney for both Bush administrations, is serving a 15-year prison term at the Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown, for the attempted murder of his wife during a violent, prolonged and vicious domestic assault in their New Canaan mansion in 2010.
The state Appelate Court upheld the civil jury’s December 2013 decision. Farren, who is not due for release until March 2029, now hopes the highest court overturns the ruling.
“What he is trying to do is block further attempts to execute judgment,” Mary Margaret Farren’s attorney, Paul Slager said following the hearing on Monday. “He has money in a variety of places and to stop any further efforts in that regard.”
Genuario said he needed a few days to reach a decision.
Michael Farren did not attend the 15-minute hearing and was not present during the civil or criminal trials.
Part of Farren’s appeal focuses on him not being present for the civil trial. However, Slager has said Farren’s “legal shenanigans” involved putting himself in Hartford Hospital for having suicidal “ideations” on the eve of the trial to avoid having to defend himself.
The Appellate Court ruled the Stamford trial court did not know he had been committed to the hospital.
His attorney, Emily Gianquinto, told the judge on Monday he had the authority to make a stay in the case until the U.S. Supreme court makes a ruling.
But Slager, told Genuario he did not have the authority to delay his client from collecting the settlement. He said the Appellate Court already denied Farren’s appeal and now his attorney is going behind the higher court’s back.
But Gianquinto told Genuario, “Mr. Farren has exercised his right to take his appeal further.”
“They lost that,” Slager said. “And they are essentially seeking to appeal the decision of the Appellate Court with your honor, which is wholly improper.”
Slager said Farren has been withholding the money from his client since the settlement was awarded more than two years ago.
“Based on the justice that happened here, this is one after the next, after the next, after the next, in a series of delays,” Slager said. “This is only the latest in a long string of attempted delays.“
Gianquinto said after the hearing Mary Margaret Farren has collected some of the settlement money, but she was not sure how much.