A Connecticut man who's a suspect in the disappearance of his wife is having his defense paid by a mysterious benefactor in Greece, lawyers for her family claimed, and they want to know who it is and from where the money's coming.
Fotis Dulos and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, have been charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution in connection with the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos, 50. They pleaded not guilty and he has been out on bail since June 11.
Richard Weinstein, an attorney representing Jennifer’s mother, Gloria Farber, of Manhattan, demanded in a court motion that Fotis Dulos provide more information about how he has been able to pay for his lawyers, the Stamford Advocate reported.
Fotis – who grew up in Greece and still has family there – said in an earlier deposition that he had no clue who was paying for the legal team and private investigator defending him against charges in connection with his wife’s disappearance. “Except that the funds were coming from Greece,” he added, according to the paper, citing Weinstein.
The ongoing divorce case has spilled over from her disappearance and Farber has the couple's five children staying with her while she seeks full custody. She's also suing Fotis Dulos for $2.5 million in unpaid loans to his real estate company, Fore Group.
Her lawyer assailed Fotis’ legal team for its previous claims that his mother-in-law was attempting to take down his struggling company with the trouble reportedly worsening when emails from real estate agents made potential customers uneasy about doing business with him.
Fotis’ lawyer, William Murray, repeated his claims that Farber was trying to put his client out of business without explaining why Dulos didn't pay back the loans, and Weinstein retorted that it was a case of “the public relations efforts being made by the defendant Dulos to try this case in the media rather than in the courtroom,” the Advocate reported.
At the end of July, another lawyer for Dulos, Norm Pattis, filed a motion in Stamford Superior Court arguing there is “no basis in evidence or law” to charge his client with hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence. That came exactly two months after her disappearance just after she dropped the couple's five children off at school.
The case has attracted widespread media attention, which Pattis says prompted prosecutors to “clearly put the cart before the horse in charging the defendant.”
Police allege Fotis Dulos and girlfriend Michelle Troconis discarded items containing Jennifer Dulos’ blood in Hartford. Jennifer Dulos’ family released a statement at that time urging anyone with information about the disappearance to come forward.
“It’s still an active investigation,” New Canaan police Lt. Jason Ferraro said. “We’re over 1,200 tips at this time. It’s a tremendous amount of information” to sort through.
According to court documents filed in the divorce case, Jennifer Dulos feared that Fotis Dulos would harm her in some way in retaliation for her filing for divorce.
Jennifer Dulos is the daughter of Farber and the late Hilliard Farber, who ran Chase Manhattan Bank’s bond trading desk before founding his own brokerage firm in 1975.
Pattis has argued that Jennifer Dulos is not the victim of foul play and has suggested a couple of alternate explanations for her disappearance. Patrick McKenna, who has helped win high-profile acquittals for O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony, is also on his defense team.
Pattis told the New York Post in June that Jennifer Dulos once wrote a manuscript similar to the popular book-turned-movie Gone Girl about a woman who stages her own disappearance to frame her husband for murder. Pattis has also put forward a revenge-suicide hypothesis as an explanation for her disappearance.
A Dulos family spokeswoman called the Gone Girl theory “false and irresponsible.” Fotis Dulos, meanwhile, has said he misses his kids. “I just want to tell my children that they’re constantly on my mind and that I love them and I miss them very much,” he said earlier.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)