NEW CANAAN, Conn. (WTNH) — The attorney representing a woman charged in connection with the death of a missing New Canaan mother of five is calling a motion to disqualify him from the case “wholly meritless.”
“The state apparently is willing to go to outrageous lengths to go after my client and to deny her a fair trial and that includes getting rid of me,” Jon Schoenhorn said in a written statement to News 8. “To be clear: I am not going anywhere voluntarily. PERIOD. This pathetic move just demonstrates the weakness of the case against Michelle.”
Schoenhorn represents Michelle Troconis, who was Fotis Dulos’ live-in girlfriend when he allegedly killed his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, in May 2019 at her New Canaan home. Troconis faces charges of second-degree hindering prosecution, tampering with physical evidence, and conspiracy to commit murder.
Jennifer Dulos’ body has never been found.
Prosecutors believe that Fotis Dulos, who died by suicide after being charged, was shown on surveillance footage riding a bicycle in the area around the time that Jennifer Dulos was killed.
The newest move by the prosecution involves the dark clothing that the person on the bicycle was wearing, which the state believes may be a hoodie that Schoenhorn handed over to police, according to court documents.
Surveillance footage shows that Troconis and Fotis Dulos were in a Ford together when he threw garbage bags in trash receptacles, according to court documents. A bag that was recovered from one of the bins had DNA from Fotis Dulos, Jennifer Dulos, and Troconis on it.
Schoenhorn said he’d use the sweatshirt as evidence that Fotis Dulos did not kill Jennifer, according to court documents. A person he has pointed to as a potential killer allegedly had the hoodie in their vehicle.
While prosecutors have asked Schoenhorn how he got the sweatshirt, he hasn’t answered, instead stating that “I know where it came from,” that he is not “legally in a position” to reveal how he got it, and that he was “ethically” required to give it to police, according to the motion filed Tuesday. He allegedly told prosecutors that his office received the sweatshirt about a year before he realized he needed to turn it over to the authorities.
Those unanswered questions, the state’s motion claims, means that he’s likely to be a “necessary witness” in the trial and is working under “a potential conflict of interest with the likelihood of it developing into a substantial actual conflict.”
Schoenhorn told News 8 in a written statement that the newest update is a “frivolous motion to deny Michelle Troconis her sixth amendment right to counsel.” He added that he believes the investigators were “incompetent” by not looking at other suspects who may have been involved in Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance.
His legal response to the state’s motion, also filed Tuesday, claims there isn’t a “compelling need” for his testimony, and that the surveillance footage of the cyclist is blurry and doesn’t have context in the case.
Any conflict, he wrote, doesn’t reach the level required to disqualify him from representing Troconis.
Earlier this month, another man charged in connection with Jennifer Dulos’ death was back in jail on a $1.5 million bond after being released last year.
Kent Mawhinney, Fotis Dulos’ former attorney, faces charges of conspiring to murder Jennifer Dulos after authorities said he helped Fotis create an alibi.