J. Michael Farren

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John Michael Farren (born 1953 in West Hartford, Connecticut) is a former American attorney[1][2] who served as Deputy White House Counsel in the Office of Counsel to the President under the 43rd President of the United States George W. Bush from 2007 to 2009. Farren also served as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade at the United States Department of Commerce and head of the International Trade Administration under the 41st President of the United States George H. W. Bush from 1989 to 1992. He is currently serving a 15-year jail sentence for attempted murder.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Farren is the son of Elizabeth and Joseph Farren of West Hartford, Connecticut. Joseph Farren was the captain of the Naugatuck, Connecticut police department.[4]

Farren earned a bachelor's degree from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, his master's degree in public policy analysis from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and his law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law.[4][5]


Prior to joining the Office of Counsel to the President under President George W. Bush, Farren was corporate vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Xerox. From 1989 to 1992, Farren was Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade at the United States Department of Commerce and head of the International Trade Administration. During the 1988 United States presidential election, he was deputy director of former President George H. Bush’s transition team. During the 1992 United States presidential election deputy campaign manager for the Bush-Quayle Re-election Committee.

Personal life[edit]


Farren married Mary Margaret Scharf, also an attorney, on May 3, 1997.[6]

Arrest for attempted murder of wife[edit]

Farren was arrested on January 6, 2010 and charged with the strangulation and attempted murder of his wife Mary Margaret Farren at their New Canaan, Connecticut home.[7][8][9] At the time of his attack on his wife, their two daughters were 7 years old and 4 months old.[10]

After his arrest, Farren spent six months in jail before posting $750,000 bond and checking into a psychiatric facility in Connecticut, according to a Greenwich Time article.[11] After being released from the facility, he was fitted with a tracking device and went to live with his sister in his hometown, West Hartford, Connecticut.[12]

In April 2013, Farren was granted permission to act as his own lawyer and to put forth an insanity defense.[13]

After a five-day Connecticut jury trial in December 2013, Farren was ordered by the jury to pay his ex-wife $28.6 million in damages for attempting to kill her.[10][14][15] The jurors deliberated for only 90 minutes before holding Farren liable.[16]

In July 2014, a jury found Farren guilty of attempted murder, first degree assault and risk of injury to a child. The judge ordered that he never again have contact with his two daughters. He was later sentenced to 15 years in prison.[17]


  1. ^ http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/06107-ct-j-farren-1460427.html
  2. ^ http://www.martindale.com/J-Michael-Farren/358342-lawyer.htm
  3. ^ "U.S. Former Deputy White House Counsel’s Ex-Wife Recalls Flashlight Attack That Nearly Killed Her". 2015-02-05. 
  4. ^ a b "Mary M. Scharf, J. Michael Farren". The New York Times. 1997-05-04. 
  5. ^ "G.O.P. Aide Is Charged in Violent Family Fight". The New York Times. 2010-01-09. 
  6. ^ "WEDDINGS--Mary M. Scharf, J. Michael Farren". New York Times. 1997-05-04. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  7. ^ Cowan, Alison Leigh; Baker, Al (2010-01-08). "G.O.P. Aide Is Charged in Violent Family Fight". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  8. ^ Nickerson, John (2010-01-07). "Former White House lawyer charged with attempting to kill wife in New Canaan". Greenwich Time. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  9. ^ Vick, Karl (2010-02-25). "Case of John Michael Farren seen as refresher course on domestic violence". The Washington Post. 
  10. ^ a b http://abcnews.go.com/US/jury-awards-286-million-damages-wife-husbands-brutal/story?id=21254654
  11. ^ http://www.greenwichtime.com/policereports/article/Former-White-House-lawyer-seeks-indigent-status-3805406.php
  12. ^ http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Farren-claims-brain-disease-4594533.php
  13. ^ http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Farren-will-lead-his-insanity-defense-4431654.php
  14. ^ "Ex-wife of Former White House Lawyer John Michael Farren gets 28.6m for Beating". CBS News. 
  15. ^ http://www.newstimes.com/local/article/Former-White-House-attorney-held-liable-in-5073203.php
  16. ^ http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/former_white_house_lawyer_ordered_to_pay_28.6m_in_beating_of_wife/
  17. ^ http://abcnews.go.com/US/deputy-white-house-counsels-wife-recalls-flashlight-attack/story?id=28579355

External links[edit]