Transcript for Trial Begins for Ex-White House Lawyer Accused of Attempted Murder
family. To the former white house lawyer charged with trying to kill his wife. Michael Farren has already lost a civil lawsuit and this morning his criminal trial is set to get under way. ABC's Ryan smith is here to tell us all about that. Good morning, Ryan. Good morning, robin. Nearly 4 1/2 years ago Michael Farren was arrested in his mansion for allegedly brutalizing his wife. Now after a myriad of appeals delaying the trial and giving up on representing himself jury selection starts today. This morning, jury selection is set to begin in the attempted murder trial of John Farren a former white house lawyer for George W. Bush now on the other side of the law. Farren is accused of brutally beating his ex-wife at their Connecticut mansion in 2010. At times allegedly hitting her with a metal flashlight. He put his hands around my neck and in the same motion he tackled me to the floor. Reporter: At a 2013 civil trial, Mary Farren testified the alleged attack was prompted by her serving her husband with divorce papers. In December, that civil jury awarded her nearly $29 million. John Farren represented himself but never actually showed up to court claiming via e-mail he was in the hospital. In the civil case he didn't even show up so a huge verdict was issued against him. But now he's going to have to be there and now his freedom is at stake. Reporter: Farren will not be representing himself in the criminal trial. He reportedly told a judge last week that the evidence against him was taking too large an emotional toll. It's always a bad idea to represent yourself in a criminal case and it's probably even a worse idea to represent yourself if you're pursuing a mental defect defense. Reporter: If convicted Farren could spend up to 70 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and Farren who has been free on bond actually requested plea discussions on prison time indicating that he might be thinking about changing his not guilty plea. Those discussions happened yesterday but apparently whatever was offered wasn't enough to change his mind. Robin. Apparently so. Okay, Ryan, thank you.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.