Lawyers for the man known as 'Clark Rockefeller' have requested a new trial, citing judicial errors and what the defense maintains was an unqualified mental health expert.
Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, the conman who posed as a member of the famed Rockefeller family for decades was sentenced to a maximum of five years in a Massachusetts state prison earlier this month after being found guilty of kidnapping his daughter and assaulting a social worker with a dangerous weapon.
In the court papers filed in Suffolk County, Mass., the defense argues that Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frank Gazianon erred by not providing "curative instruction" to the jury after the prosecution's closing arguments to remind jurors that Gerhartsreiter's defense was a sound one.
Prosecutors told the jury in closing arguments that the notion that Gerhartsreiter was insane at the time of his crimes was simply another attempt at manipulation, something his lawyer Jeffrey Denner said "goes beyond the pale."
"I would have asked him to say the insanity defense is a legitimate defense in the state of Massachusetts," Denner told ABCNews.com today.
The motions, which were filed last week and unsealed Thursday, also contend that the court erred when it let the jury consider testimony from the state's mental health expert, Dr. James Chu, who Denner contends gave inaccurate and inarticulate definitions of mental illness and criminal responsibility.
Suffolk County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Erikia Gully-Santiago told ABCNews.com today the her office has received the motion and intends to respond within the 60 days allotted.
"The issued raised in this motion were raised by defense counsel during the trial," she said, "and the judge ruled in the Commonwealth's favor."
Denner said his client is struggling inside the walls of prison where he is housed with criminals convicted of much more violent crimes than he.
"He's not in a particularly pleasant place," Denner said.
In addition to the four to five years for the kidnapping conviction, Gerhartsreiter was also sentenced to a two- to three-year term for the assault, to run concurrently with the kidnapping sentence. He will serve his terms at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Concord, Mass.
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said the verdict was "fair and just" and said hoped it gives Gerhartsreiter's ex-wife Sandra Boss and her daughter "some sense of justice...this was a difficult ordeal for this family," he said.
Prior to sentencing, Gerhartsreiter's ex-wife Sandra Boss and social worker Howard Yaffe, who was assaulted during the kidnapping, requested in their victim statements that Gerhartsreiter be given the fullest sentence under the law.
"While Reigh was gone, I faced a mother's worst nightmare, the possibility of losing a child without a trace," Boss said in her victim statement.
Gazianon said that he was taking into account Gerhartsreiter's first-time offender status and his seemingly genuine love for his daughter Reigh.