Patrick McKenna, the high-profile private investigator who helped win acquittals on murder charges for Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson, has been hired by Fotis Dulos’ defense team, according to sources connected to the case.
The 51-year-old Dulos and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, 44, have been charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution in the May 24 disappearance of his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos.
The disappearance of Jennifer Dulos has sparked a massive police investigation that has spanned two states, several Connecticut counties, including three bodies of water and tons of garbage at a Hartford trash facility.
Attorney Norm Pattis, representing Fotis Dulos, has said the defense team has hired its own private investigator to look into the case.
On Monday, McKenna contacted a former employee of Fotis Dulos’ real estate development company, according to the worker’s attorney, Lindy Urso.
"He reached out to a client of mine and said he was working on behalf of Fotis Dulos," Urso said. "My client is not going to be speaking with him."
Urso said his client, who was seen driving Fotis Dulos’ pickup truck in New Canaan the day Jennifer Dulos vanished, has been cleared as a suspect in the case.
McKenna declined to comment Tuesday when asked about the Fotis Dulos case. McKenna referred questions to Pattis, who also declined to comment.
"I'm not going to comment on the investigation at this time," Pattis said.
It’s unclear who is paying for McKenna’s work. While Fotis Dulos was held at the Bridgeport Correctional Center for 10 days on $500,000 bond following his June 1 arrest, Pattis said his client was trying to find enough resources to post the required 10 percent to be released. Fotis Dulos was released after paying $35,150 when he pleaded not guilty on June 11.
McKenna's resume on his LinkedIn profile lists some of his clients as Yoko Ono, the Irish Republican Army, William Kennedy Smith and F. Lee Bailey in addition to Simpson and Anthony, who was accused of killing her 6-year-old daughter Caylee in Florida 11 years ago.
McKenna was the lead private investigator for Anthony’s defense team. Anthony told the Associated Press in a 2017 interview that she was tried in the "court of public opinion" and could sympathize with Simpson, whose own legal proceedings 25 years ago after the murder of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman were called "the trial of the century."
Pattis has said Fotis Dulos is being tried by the media and public by "innuendo" and that he planned to hire his own private investigator to unearth facts in the case. The defense team in recent weeks has sought to humanize Fotis Dulos with statements released by his sister, Rena Dulos, and an official with the Greek international water ski organization that hosted competitions that involved his children. Both said Fotis Dulos was a good father and didn't seem capable of harming his wife.
Court documents filed in the criminal case and the acrimonious two-year divorce proceedings between Jennifer and Fotis Dulos paint a different picture. Motions filed in the divorce indicate that Jennifer Dulos was afraid of her husband and feared that he would make good on his promise to take the children to his homeland of Greece.
Fotis Dulos and Troconis were arrested after videos from the Hartford police surveillance system showed a couple matching their descriptions making more than 30 stops in a four-mile stretch of Albany Avenue around the time Jennifer Dulos was reported missing the evening of May 24, arrest warrants said. Fotis Dulos was also seen tossing bags into trash bins that contained his wife’s blood, according to arrest warrants.
Fotis Dulos was also seen on video stuffing a FedEx box that contained old license plates to a car registered to him in a storm drain at the intersection of Garden Street and Albany Avenue, according to arrest warrants.
Police said they found blood stains and "signs of a serious physical assault" in the garage of the New Canaan home Jennifer Dulos has been renting since she filed for divorce in 2017. Investigators also found the DNA of Fotis Dulos mingled with the blood of his estranged wife on a faucet in her home, according to State's Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. A judge has granted Colangelo’s request to have the search warrants in the case sealed for 90 days.