The state's Supreme Court is asking prosecutors and the defense in the Dulos case to provide reasons to keep or drop the appeal on the gag order surrounding the case now that the defendant has died.
In the order filed earlier this month, the court directed the prosecution and the defense to make their arguments in no more than five pages.
What to Know
- Fotis Dulos was charged with murder and kidnapping in connection with the disappearance of his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos.
- Fotis Dulos died two days after a suicide attempt at his Farmington home, leaving many unanswered questions about the case against him.
- A gag order was in place on the case, which Fotis Dulos' attorney argued made it impossible for his client to defend himself to the public.
Jennifer Dulos has been missing since May 2019. Her estranged husband Fotis Dulos has been charged with her murder. Fotis Dulos died of self-inflicted injuries on January 30. He maintained his innocence throughout the investigation.
Michelle Troconis, Fotis Dulos’ former girlfriend, and Kent Mawhinney, a friend and attorney for Fotis Dulos, are still facing charges in connection with Jennifer’s disappearance. They have each been charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Troconis is also charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution.
Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A gag order was placed in the case months ago, when Fotis Dulos was facing charges of tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. His attorney Norm Pattis has appealed the gag order, arguing it made it impossible for his client to defend himself in the court of public opinion.
Though Fotis Dulos has died, Pattis has vowed to prove him innocent on behalf of his family.
In a memorandum filed Monday, the state argued that with Fotis Dulos’ death, the appeal on the gag order is moot, and that the order will expire if the charges against Fotis Dulos are nolled at the next court date on March 3.
“The defendant is dead, so the ‘case’ is moot because there is no practical relief that he could gain were this Court to continue forward with his appeal….” The document reads. It adds that if the charges are nolled the gag order will expire anyway, so there is no need for the appeal for the sake of the others charged in the case.
In his memorandum, Pattis argued that the gag order still binds the attorneys and Fotis Dulos' immediate family and associates. He also pointed out that he intends to argue that his client be tried posthumously, which would keep the gag order in effect during any appeal process.
"An actual controversy exists because the gag order binds individuals who are still living: Mr. Dulos’ family, his attorneys, Michelle Troconis, Kent Mawhinney, and their attorneys. The gag violated, and continues to violate, their constitutional rights to free speech," Pattis wrote.
Search Continues for Jennifer Dulos
Jennifer Dulos is still missing. Police have a dedicated website on the search for Jennifer Dulos. They have set up a tipline at 203-594-3544 as well as a dedicated email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: Here is information on suicide prevention from the National Institute of Mental Health. If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741.