(NewsNation) — The attorney for the family of Eric Richins says accused killer Kouri Richins was seeking to “create a narrative” when she wrote a letter asking her mother and brother to tell police that her husband abused drugs.
Prosecutors contend the letter amounts to witness tampering and have asked a judge to prevent Kouri Richins, who is accused of killing her husband Eric, from further contacting her mother and brother. Kouri Richins’ defense team says the letter is being misconstrued.
“On a good day, this is coaching of a witness, which is highly inappropriate, but really it’s witness tampering,” Greg Skordas, the attorney representing the family of Eric Richins, said Monday on “CUOMO.”
Kouri 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.
Kouri’s defense team alleges the release of the letter, which the prosecution included in a court filing, is in violation of the gag order and have asked a judge to sanction the state.
Kouri is accused of killing Eric by spiking his drink with a deadly dose of fentanyl. In the letter, Kouri instructs her mother to tell her brother to tell police that Eric told him he got pain pills and fentanyl from Mexico.
“What she’s trying to do is create a narrative that’s not true,” Skordas said of the letter. “I mean, just reach out to the witness and say ‘Hey, I need to tell the truth, I need to tell about that trip to Mexico’ instead of spoon feeding him every word.”
Kouri’s defense team denies she killed her husband, instead arguing he died of an accidental overdose.
Skordas said Eric had no history of drug use.
“There’s nothing in his family history or anyone who knows him that would ever corroborate a drug or alcohol problem,” Skordas said.
Kouri faces a number of charges, including first-degree aggravated murder and second-degree drug possession with intent to distribute. She’s also charged with financial crimes, but both the state and defense anticipate changes to some of those charges.
NewsNation digital producer Stephanie Whiteside contributed to this report.