Fotis Dulos left court today after posting $500,000 bond following his not guilty plea to charges relating to the disappearance of his estranged wife Jennifer Dulos.
The 51-year-old, still dressed in his orange jumpsuit, walked out the front of Stamford Superior Court flanked by law enforcement and climbed into a black SUV before being driven off.
Fotis was arrested two weeks ago and charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution after his wife, Jennifer, 50, vanished on May 24.
Earlier this afternoon, Fotis had appeared in family court at the Stamford courthouse in handcuffs for a custody hearing for his five children.
He pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination when his wife’s divorce attorneys asked that he take the stand to testify in the child custody case.
Michael Meehan, guardian lite for the five Dulos children, who are aged eight to 13 years old, said he had visited with them at their grandmother’s home last week and said their emotional and financial needs are being met.
Lawyers for Jennifer and her mother, Gloria Farber, asked that the grandmother be granted custody of the children who have been staying in her New York City apartment since their mother went missing.
Fotis’ lawyer, Norm Pattis, asked that the status quo be observed with Farber continuing to have temporary custody.
Judge Donna Heller ordered a recess on Tuesday while she came to a decision in the case.
After his arrest, Fotis hired Alex Jones’ lawyer, Pattis, who has claimed that there is ‘no evidence’ to prove his client was involved in ‘foul play’ despite State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr revealing that investigators found Fotis’ DNA mixed with his wife’s blood on a faucet in the kitchen of her New Canaan home.
On Tuesday, both Fotis and his socialite girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, 44, pleaded not guilty to charges of tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution.
The judge asked that Fotis remain in Connecticut, surrender his passport and be fitted with a GPS monitoring device. He set the next court date for August 2.
Pattis said: ‘There’s enormous public interest in the case. Mr Dulos is being tried and convicted in the court of public opinion of a crime he has not yet been charged with.
‘What we know is that Jennifer went missing…We have been able to account for Mr Dulos’ movement for all of that time.’
Pattis said that the prosecution has been ‘fueling speculation that there’s a dismembered body’.
He called the prosecution’s theory ‘ludicrous’.
‘There is no body we are aware and I’m sick of hearing about it…my client is entitled to the presumption of innocence. ‘We don’t know where Jennifer is,’ Pattis said in court.
Pattis also noted that, at the time of Jennifer’s disappearance, the custody case was moving in his client’s favor, adding that the court had made ‘adverse findings about Jennifer’s mental health’ which he did not want to put on the record at this time.
According to Pattis, Troconis’ lawyer, Andrew Bowman, won’t speak with him about what she told Colangelo.
Colangelo asked for the defendant’s bond to be increased because the case is ‘fluid’.
He told the court that the ‘lab was able to confirm that the defendant’s DNA was found in a mixture with the victim’s blood on the faucet in Jennifer’s kitchen’.
Pattis admitted that his client was at Jennifer Dulos’ home days earlier which would account for his DNA.
Colangelo added that Dulos was at the home days before Jennifer Dulos disappeared but did not enter the house and was only in the back yard.
Pattis asked to have the trial expedited to August.
‘Mr. Dulos is tired of sitting back and hearing people pick apart his motives. We are ready for trial now,’ the attorney said.
‘If he becomes eligible then, I assure you, the court will accommodate him,’ the judge responded.
Outside court, Pattis said that he believed Troconis is cooperating with prosecutors.
‘She spoke to the state, they won’t give us a copy of what she said.
‘You don’t talk to the state voluntarily unless you’re cooperating somehow. She wants something from them. The question is what did they offer her and what did she give them? As near as we can tell, she gave them nothing.’
Troconis appeared in court on Tuesday ahead of her boyfriend. She pleaded not guilty to the charges.
She was dressed in grey slacks with silver flats, a striped blue blouse and a grey cardigan.
Troconis was accompanied to court by her two sisters, mother and father.
Her next court date has been set for July 18. Troconis has been out on a $500,000 bond since last week after surrendering her passport and being fitted for a GPS ankle monitor.
On Thursday, she met with state police investigators and the state’s attorney for several hours at her lawyer’s office, where she reportedly made a confession.
Both Dulos and Troconis appeared at Norwalk Superior Court for an initial hearing last Monday.
The father-of-five had been held at Bridgeport Correction Facility after being unable to post $500,000 bail.
Troconis has told police she does not know the whereabouts of Jennifer, the Hartford Courant reported on Tuesday.
Sources said that investigators have proof that Troconis was not in Jennifer’s home on May 24, the day she went missing.
Last Thursday, Troconis met with state police investigators and the state attorney for several hours at the office of her lawyer Andrew Bowman, where she reportedly made a confession. Bowman has declined to comment on her case.
On Friday, Troconis was seen with detectives at the Farmington mansion where she lived with Fotis.
Investigators have spent the last week systematically searching properties connected to The Fore Group, Fotis’ construction company and the acres of woods behind the former family home in Farmington.
Police have also search Jennifer’s New Canaan home where she lived with her five children after filing for divorce in 2017.
The couple’s five children, aged eight to 13, are being cared for by their grandmother Gloria Farber in her New York City apartment and are being protected by armed guards.
Video evidence obtained by police revealed a man resembling Fotis dumping up to 30 garbage bags into trash cans along Albany Avenue in Hartford, Connecticut just hours after his estranged wife disappeared, according to court records.
A woman resembling Troconis is seen on video sitting in the passenger seat as Dulos throws out the bags.
Some of the bags were recovered by investigators before they were picked up and taken to a trash-to-energy plant in Hartford’s South Meadows.
Last week’s garbage pickup was delayed by one day because of Memorial Day, so most of the trash from the Albany Avenue area was not destroyed.
Police have been searching through the garbage using cadaver dogs for evidence.
Items submitted to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection lab found that they contained Jennifer’s blood, according to the arrest warrant.
‘Based on the crime scene processing, investigators came to the consensus that a serious physical assault had occurred at the scene, and Jennifer Dulos was the suspected victim,’ the warrant reads.
Jennifer’s blood was found on clothing and other items including kitchen sponges thrown out in areas along Albany Avenue, according to court documents.
Fotis and Jennifer had been locked in a vicious custody battle for their five children for the last two years.
A divorce filing from the missing woman stated that she feared her estranged husband would harm her and that he owned a gun.
It also emerged that Fotis was fighting his wife’s mother in court after he failed to pay back $1.7million in loans to his company.
Fotis’ cell phone records indicate that on the day Jennifer disappeared, he traveled from his home to a business property at 1.30pm, went back home around 4.20pm, returned to the property at 5.20pm, and then went back home once more at 5.30pm.
At 7.10pm, his phone was tracked to Hartford, where the bloodied items were later recovered.
Police said in the arrest warrant that neither Fotis nor Troconis were cooperating in their investigation at the time.
Jennifer has been missing since May 24 after she was last seen dropping her children off at their school in new Canaan.
She was reported missing that night after failing to show up to several appointments.
Police suspect that she was attacked in her home between 8-11am.
According to the warrant, police found dark stains believed to be blood on the floor of the garage as well as blood spatter and evidence of a clean-up job.
Her car was later found abandoned in Waveny Park, a short distance from her home. Police have also been seen conducting grid searches of the large parkland area.
Pattis replaced Eugene Riccio, who represented Fotis Dulos during his first court appearance last week. He is also representing Infowars host Alex Jones.
Jones is being sued by families of Sandy Hook victims after claiming that the 2012 school massacre was a hoax and alleging that the victims’ parents were actors.
Pattis spoke out in defense of his client in a statement released on Saturday.
‘I caution the world at large that things are rarely as they appear early on in a sensationalized investigation like this one,’ it read.
‘The rush to judgement stops now, as does the conviction by innuendo. If necessary, we’ll let a jury decide what happened here.’
On Monday, New Canaan police announced a website seeking tips on Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance – www.FindJenniferDulos.com.