Attorney: Jennifer Dulos’ mother a victim of ‘trial by ambush’
Fotis Dulos is committing “trial by ambush” by claiming — weeks after a civil trial ended — that his estranged wife’s family owes him $1 million, his mother-in-law’s attorney said.
Attorney Richard Weinstein, representing Gloria Farber in $2.5 million civil lawsuits against Fotis Dulos, has filed a seven-page brief, calling the counterclaim unfair since the two-day trial ended on Dec. 4.
“This action was tried to the court without any claim pending against the plaintiff (Farber) to allow defendants to now, after trial, assert a new counterclaim where no claims had previously been pleaded against (the) plaintiff would be counter to all notions of equity and fairness,” Weinstein said. “Characterizing it as trial by ambush would be an understatement.”
Farber brought the lawsuits against Fotis Dulos more than a year before her daughter went missing as the couple was embroiled in a contentious divorce and custody battle for their five children. Farber contends in the lawsuits that her son-in-law owes the family $2.5 million in unpaid business loans made to his high-end real estate development company, Fore Group.
Fotis Dulos has been charged in his estranged wife’s disappearance and is facing foreclosures of his Farmington home and a New Canaan property his company was developing. A $500,000 loan from the Farber family to Jennifer and Fotis Dulos for the Farmington home is also the subject of one of the lawsuits.
Attorney William Murray, representing Fotis Dulos, filed the counterclaim for $1 million on Dec. 20 along with written closing arguments in the civil trial.
In his response filed last week, Weinstein argued the counterclaim should be denied because it was not presented during the pretrial proceedings or the two-day trial, preventing him from defending the accusations. Weinstein had also previously denied the Farber family owed Fotis Dulos the money.
“Here defendants did not assert any counterclaim until after trial had been completed,” Weinstein said. “Thus, plaintiff was no longer in a position to present evidence against such counterclaim.”
Hartford Superior Court Judge Cesar Noble is expected to render a decision in the lawsuits in the coming weeks.
Murray presented evidence during the trial claiming Weinstein failed to deduct $1.8 million in money Fotis Dulos gave to his father-in-law and improperly listed about $750,000 in payments to the Fore Group for building a lavish guest house on the Farber property in Pound Ridge, N.Y.
Murray claims the Farber family owes his client $1,042,300 when the additional figures are considered.
The legal wrangling between the attorneys intensified after Jennifer Dulos disappeared on May 24. The court filings have been playing out against the backdrop of the missing persons case and the Dulos children’s first holiday season without their mother.
Fotis Dulos reiterated his claim that the Farber family owes him $1 million during a Fox News interview, which aired last week.
According to arrest warrants, police believe Fotis Dulos was “lying in wait” when Jennifer Dulos arrived home from dropping off their children at school in New Canaan around 8:05 a.m. May 24.
Police said two people resembling Fotis Dulos and his former girlfriend Michelle Troconis were captured on video in Hartford later that night around the time his estranged wife was reported missing.
The man police contend is Fotis Dulos was seen on the videos dumping bags that were later determined to contain his wife’s blood and clothing, the warrants said.
A separate arrest warrant said Fotis Dulos and Troconis took a red Toyota Tacoma pickup truck belonging to a Fore Group employee to a car wash in the days after the disappearance. Police said in the warrant that they believe Fotis Dulos drove the truck to New Canaan the morning of the disappearance.
Fotis Dulos also urged the employee to remove the seats, which were later found to contain his wife’s blood, according to the warrant.
Fotis Dulos and Troconis have each been charged with two counts of tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. Fotis Dulos will be back in state Superior Court in Stamford on Jan. 9, while Troconis is due to appear on Jan. 31.