Richins, a children’s book author, is accused of poisoning her husband before writing a children’s book about grief. The court previously issued a gag order in the case, at the request of prosecutors, who said it was necessary to avoid tainting the jury pool and to guarantee a free trial.
Richins’ attorneys are accusing the state of filing a “Walk the Dog letter” on a public docket without attaching it to a motion or pleading, in what the defense claims was an effort to sway public opinion. They allege the letter is in violation of the gag order and are asking the state be sanctioned.
Defense attorneys note that media companies have been closely following the docket, and the letter has already been reported on. They also allege the letter was obtained as the result of a possibly illegal search.
“This filing was the logical equivalent of sending directly to the media or posting it online. Within minutes of the filing, media outlets were reaching out to defense counsel for comment. This demonstrates the desired effect that the State intended,” the filing reads.
The filing also objects to a no-contact order requested between Richins and Lisa Darden or Ronald Darden, her mother and brother, refuting claims that Richins was engaged in witness tampering.
The defense also calls out other conduct by prosecutors, including releasing evidence on a public docket that included confidential information, like Richins’ social security number and bank account information.
The attorneys are requesting the court strike the letter from the docket or make it a private and to order the state to pay attorney fees associated with filing the motion.