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Jennifer Dulos case: What we learned this week

Stamford Advocate - Local News
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Jennifer Dulos case: What we learned this week

As the search for Jennifer Dulos entered a second month, the investigation at a Hartford garbage facility ended this week and attorneys sparred in criminal and divorce court filings.

Here are some of the key moments so far this week:

Fotis breaks silence

Jennifer Dulos’ estranged husband broke his silence Wednesday, making a brief statement to his five children while standing beside his attorneys outside the Stamford courthouse.

Fotis Dulos is seeking custody of his children, who he has not seen since two days before his wife went missing on May 24.

“I just want to tell my children that they are constantly on my mind,” Fotis Dulos told reporters. “I love them and miss them very much.”

Fotis Dulos made the statement following a divorce hearing in Stamford family court where his attorney was accused of violating a judge’s order that sealed a confidential report.

Fotis Dulos, 51, and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, are free on bail while charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution in Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance.

Crossing state lines

Fotis Dulos crossed state lines on Monday — a possible violation of his release.

As part of the conditions of his release, Fotis Dulos is not allowed to leave Connecticut without the court’s permission and is tracked by a GPS monitoring device.

On Monday, according to his attorneys, a driving app led Fotis Dulos into Westchester County while diverting him around a car accident. They said he was driving to a New Canaan home owned by his real estate development company and “briefly” entered New York.

“Apparently while traveling in western Connecticut, Mr. Dulos inadvertently crossed state lines on a country road,” defense attorney Norm Pattis said in a statement. “The court was informed. No one seems too concerned about it. Unfortunately, roads twist and turn, sometimes crossing state lines.”

Since posting bail, Fotis Dulos has been seen at 61 Sturbridge Hill Road, a New Canaan property owned by his company, Fore Group. The 7,000-square-foot home, listed at $4.8 million and located near Pound Ridge, N.Y., is where neighbors said they heard loud banging noises the morning after Jennifer Dulos went missing.

First ‘Gone Girl,’ now ‘revenge suicide’

Pattis, an outspoken New Haven attorney known for representing controversial clients, made headlines and drew sharp criticism over the weekend for claiming Jennifer Dulos staged her own disappearance to frame her estranged husband.

Pattis said Jennifer Dulos once wrote a 500-page manuscript similar to the 2012 best-selling thriller novel, “Gone Girl.”

“This is a person who has a pretty florid imagination and motives to use it to hurt Mr. Dulos,” Pattis told the New York Post.

Carrie Luft, a spokeswoman for Jennifer Dulos’ family, said the manuscript was written in 2002, years before Jennifer and Fotis Dulos began dating, and “has nothing to do with ‘Gone Girl.’”

“Trying to tie Jennifer’s absence to a book she wrote more than 17 years ago makes no sense,” Luft wrote in a statement. “Evidence shows that Jennifer was the victim of a violent attack in her New Canaan home. As of today, she has been missing for a month. This is not fiction or a movie. This is real life, as experienced every single day by Jennifer’s five young children, her family, and her friends. We are heartbroken. Jennifer is not here to protect her children, and these false and irresponsible allegations hurt the children now and into the future.”

On Wednesday, Pattis offered a new theory. During a divorce hearing in Stamford family court, Pattis suggested Jennifer Dulos committed “revenge suicide.”

Pattis reiterated the defense team’s new theory when he spoke to reporters after the hearing.

“We will continue with our investigation,” he said. “We are pursuing numerous leads. You heard us say today in court comments that Jennifer made to Mr Dulos. He has grave concern for her safety and well being. We are actively contemplating the revenge-suicide hypothesis as an explanation for her disappearance.”

Sealed or unsealed?

A confidential custody and psychology evaluation recently conducted on Jennifer and Fotis Dulos and their five children was the focus of a half-hour divorce hearing Wednesday.

Michael Meehan, a Bridgeport attorney and court-appointed guardian ad litem for the children, requested the hearing because he said Pattis violated a judge’s order that sealed the evaluation. Meehan accused Pattis of disclosing to the media information contained in the report.

Pattis, who said he did not initially know about the court order, filed a motion to have the report unsealed because he believes the contents can help his client’s criminal defense.

However, Judge Donna Heller ruled Wednesday the report will remain sealed and attorneys cannot speak about its contents outside the courtroom.

Reuben Midler, a divorce attorney for Jennifer Dulos, has filed his own motions regarding the report. Midler wants Fotis Dulos and his counsel held in contempt and for the court to impose sanctions for violating the judge’s order.

Midler is also asking for Meehan to be removed as the court-appointed guardian ad litem for the Dulos children. The motion accuses Meehan of wrongly releasing the evaluation to Fotis Dulos and his attorneys.

The judge on Wednesday asked the lawyers in the case to schedule other days over the next two months for hearings on those motions.

‘She loves Mr. Dulos’ ... or does she?

Pattis filed a motion Monday in his client’s criminal case, requesting a judge to clarify the conditions of Fotis Dulos’ release because he wants to see Troconis.

The motion was prompted by Troconis visiting Fotis Dulos’ Jefferson Crossing home in Farmington on Sunday to pick up some of her belongings. The visit was coordinated by their attorneys and Fotis Dulos was not present, according to the motion.

Troconis and her daughter had been living with Fotis Dulos after his wife moved to New Canaan with their five children when she filed for divorce in 2017. Jennifer Dulos claimed in divorce documents that her husband began having the affair with Troconis about a year earlier.

According to Pattis’ motion, Troconis was overheard on Sunday saying, “she loves Mr. Dulos,” and she does not believe he was involved in his wife’s disappearance.

However, Andrew Bowman, an attorney for Troconis, countered with his own motion on Tuesday, requesting a judge to prohibit Fotis Dulos and his lawyers from having any contact with his client.

Bowman said he and his client “are absolutely opposed to any contact by Fotis Dulos.”

In his motion, Bowman also asked for Troconis to be allowed to leave Connecticut for nearly a month. Bowman said she would leave on Sunday and return July 17, one day before her next scheduled court appearance in her criminal case.

A hearing has been scheduled for Friday to discuss the motion.

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