HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments on the gag order in the criminal case against Fotis Dulos on Thursday.
Every few weeks, Jennifer Dulos’s estranged husband Fotis Dulos goes to court for an appearance related to her disappearance back in April. Then he comes outside and says he loves his kids, and that’s about all anyone says to the TV cameras.
That’s because the judge put a gag order in place. The court said it did that in order to protect Fotis’ right to a fair trial.
Too much pre-trial publicity can influence the jury pool so that anyone who serves on that jury is already prejudiced one way or another.
The Office of the Chief State Attorney says the state has a vested interest in the fair trial, telling the 7 supreme court justices that the defense’s previous comments about Jennifer’s state of mind leading up to her disappearance – and a polygraph the defense claims Dulos’ ex-girlfriend Michelle Troconis apparently passed – all add to heightened publicity that could taint the jury pool.
“What he can’t do if he wants to go out there (he, his client, anyone else that’s property bound by this order) and disseminate publicly stuff that we know has no business coming into court, he can’t do that.– Robert Scheinblun, Senior State’s Attorney
Fotis’ attorney, Norm Pattis, had been talking about this case a lot outside of the courtroom, raising all kinds of doubts about Jennifer’s mental and physical health. He even tried to get the public to believe Jennifer might be still alive, maybe even framing her husband for all this.
That’s why the judge overseeing the charges against Dulos and Troconis, issued the gag order.
“Mr. Dulos is not guilty of the crime of murder and we are anxious to assert his innocence in response to any allegation…To expect us to be silent in the face of life destroying allegations is to expect more than we think the law permits.”– Norm Pattis, attorney to Fotis Dulos (December 22, 2019)
Pattis argued before the State Supreme Court on Thursday that if the gag order is there to ensure his client’s 6th amendment right to a fair trial, then his client can waive that right and the gag order should go away.
“Mr Dulos is not frightened of the truth and will embrace the truth in every forum and every way that the state makes an assertion or speculation against him.
We are confident about our case and we want the right to waive it…We don’t think he should be required to sit quietly while state slaughters him in the press with speaking indictments.”– Norm Pattis, attorney to Fotis Dulos
That then brings up the definition of “fair,” and if that means a completely unbiased jury or a jury just not biased against the defendant.
Somewhat ironically, all these arguments about what can be said in front of TV cameras were done in front of TV cameras.
A spokesperson for the Supreme court says there is no timeline for their decision.
Pattis says simply that he hopes it’ll come down “soon.”
A trial date on the charges related to Jennifer’s disappearance is set for next month. Both Dulos and Troconis maintain their innocence.