NEW YORK (AP) — Pointing to Dominique Strauss Kahn’s
high-priced house arrest, lawyers for a pharmaceuticals multimillionaire
charged with murdering her autistic 8-year-old son asked Tuesday for the same
bail deal and outlined an unusual defense — that she believed she was justified
in killing her son to protect him.
attorneys asked a judge to free her on the terms set for the former
International Monetary Fund leader: $6 million in cash bail and bond, and home
confinement under electronic monitoring and armed guard. Jordan, a New York native, owns a Manhattan town house; the French Strauss-Kahn
is renting one while awaiting trial on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel
maid. He denies the allegations.
“We are asserting that she does have sufficient funds
to build her own cage, lock herself inside, and hand the key to her new
jailers, as has Dominique Strauss-Kahn,” her lawyers, Ronald Kuby, Michelle
A. Roberts, and Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz, wrote in a
bail proposal so voluminous its attachments filled a plastic storage tub.
Prosecutors didn’t immediately respond, and a judge didn’t
immediately rule on the request. It also indicated that Jordan plans to build a
novel defense by drawing on legal concepts of justification and acting under
duress, as well as a behavioral phenomenon sometimes called altruistic filicide
— child killing by parents who believe they’re acting in the child’s best
“I would call it a justified extension of existing law
to address a unique set of circumstances,” Kuby said after court Tuesday
to update the judge on the progress of the case.
50, has been held without bail since her February 2010 arrest. Her son, Jude
Michael Mirra, was found dead of a drug overdose and she was found incoherent
in a luxury hotel room strewn with prescription pills. She had left a letter on
her computer indicating she planned to kill them both, saying he’d been abused
by others and she feared for his and her safety.
A judge last year turned down a $5 million bail and house
arrest proposal from her last year, saying her roughly $40 million fortune,
apparent psychological problems and other factors made her a flight risk.
Her lawyers say she’s anything but.
“She wants to be on trial. She wants to tell her
story,” Dershowitz said.
was a pharmaceutical executive before she quit to care for her son. She
traveled the country to seek help for him.
He was initially deemed autistic, though subsequent doctors
diagnosed problems ranging from immune-system abnormalities to post-traumatic
stress disorder, according to Tuesday’s filing.
efforts sometimes also raised questions about her own mental health. She was
briefly held for a psychiatric evaluation in March 2008 in Cheyenne, Wyo.,
after telling authorities there that members of a Satanic cult were violently
abusing the boy.
Recent psychiatric evaluations have found her to be stable,
according to Tuesday’s filing.
The Wyoming episode was a
chapter in a complex story of maternal concerns that began with Jude, who
didn’t speak, telling his mother via typing on a computer in late 2007 that he
had been tortured by adults close to him, according to Jordan’s
lawyers. A child psychiatrist she consulted agreed there were “multiple
lines of evidence” supporting the abuse allegations, according to the
Authorities repeatedly rebuffed her requests to investigate,
lawyers said. Meanwhile, she worried that another person in her and her son’s
lives might be trying to have her killed or institutionalized to gain control
of the boy and her money.
“I can’t bear to watch my son live this life and worry
that I will be taken from him or he will be taken from me” and abused, she
wrote in her suicide letter, which a previous lawyer released last year.
“Taking our lives goes against my religious beliefs, but what is God’s
will? I pray He forgives me and at least Jude is in a better place than this
laws allow defendants to say they were coerced by an imminent threat of
physical harm to themselves or someone else, or that they were justified in
using force to prevent that harm.
was “a reasonably fearful mother very much in fear or her son being
continually abused,” Dershowitz said.
prosecutors have previously called Jude’s killing calculated and premeditated,
and they’ve questioned the sincerity of her suicide attempt. Her lawyers say
she indeed tried to kill herself.