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A Connecticut judge, weary of the speculative media interviews, leaks and bizarre theories that have become pervasive in the case of missing mother of five Jennifer Dulos, has implemented a gag order that applies to all parties involved in the proceedings.
“The court finds that a substantial likelihood exists that the continued dissemination of extrajudicial comments by the parties identified in this order carries a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing a fair trial in this case,” Connecticut Superior Court Judge John Blawie’s order stated, according to the Stamford Advocate.
The order, issued Thursday, applies to both the prosecution and the defense, including all of their respective staffs and lawyers, witnesses and all law enforcement.
Blawie added that while in many cases a gag order isn’t necessary, it is in this one. He specifically cited one of the claims made by attorney Norm Pattis, who represents Fotis Dulos, Jennifer's estranged husband. Pattis has repeatedly put forth a "Gone Girl" theory of the case, claiming that Jennifer may have staged her own disappearance in order to frame his client. Jennifer’s family and “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn alike have expressed disgust over that notion.
Blawie also called out leaks from “law enforcement officials” as well as “theories masquerading as facts" in his decision to issue the gag order.
The order was requested by State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo, who claimed Pattis “undoubtedly crossed the line” by publicly making comments on the case.
“Media coverage has been extensive and pervasive. And much of it is centered on comments (Fotis) Dulos’ lawyer has made — many directly to the press — about the case,” Colangelo wrote, the Stamford Advocate reports.
Pattis, who has also represented controversial talk show host and notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, didn't seem to sweat the gag order, saying it “merely restated existing law” and "changes nothing," according to the Stamford Advocate.
For their part, New Canaan Police have already told reporters that they can no longer provide information due to the order, the Advocate reports.
Jennifer Dulos vanished May 24 while in the midst of a contentious custody battle with her husband over the couple’s five children.
The same day the gag order was issued, Fotis Dulos pleaded not guilty to a new charge of evidence tampering in the case. In the arrest warrant for the latest charge, authorities allege Dulos was "lying in wait" for his wife at her home on the day she disappeared and that the “crime and clean-up are believed to have occurred" soon after.
Authorities also allege that Dulos' girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, suggested to them that “the body of Jennifer at some point was in” a truck Dulos borrowed from an employee at his real estate development company and was driving that day. Police say they recovered a "blood-like substance" containing Jennifer's DNA from one of the truck's seats, which Dulos allegedly insisted his employee replace.
Pattis addressed these allegations to reporters after Dulos' not guilty plea, though his comments appeared to be directed at prosecutors.
"When you're ready to try a case by appropriate evidentiary standards in a court of law you'll know where to find me," he said, adding, "I've got three words for the state: bring it on.”
Dulos has recently made yet another television appearance in which he maintained his innocence and said he believes his wife is still alive, despite investigators’ belief that she is likely dead.
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