Transcript for Former White House Attorney Accused of Beating Wife Nearly to Death
the dramatic fall from grace of a washington power player, former white house council, john michael ference, stands accused of nearly beating his wife to death. His money is gone. And his freedom may be next. Paula faris has the story. Reporter: He was the white house attorney in the george w. Bush administration. She, his successful wife and high-powered lawyer. He said to her, I'll tell you. Reporter: And this morning, the connecticut jury in a civil trial has awarded mary margaret farren, after john michael farren allegedly tried to beat her to death in 2010. He put his hands around my neck. And in the same motion, he tackled me to the floor. Raise your right hand. Reporter: The verdict capped off an emotional trial. 20 machinwitnesses, including mary herself, taking the stand to describe the alleged incident, which she claims was prompted by her refusal to drop her divorce papers. And left her with emotional and physical injuries. He was strangling me. And slamming my head into the floor. Reporter: The 60-year-old chose to represent himself. Then, failed to show up in court for the trial. Even more bizarre, he e-mailed the court saying, he was hospitalized. Yet, never explained why. He was basically saying to the jury, rule against me. The only question is, how much? Reporter: Those criminal charges include attempted murder and first-degree assault. That trial is expected to start next spring. And if convicted, he could spend 70 years behind bars. He now is facing very serious criminal charges. But you almost never see this kind of fall from grace. Reporter: For "good morning america," paula faris, abc news, new york.
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