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Notable cases taken by Attorney Norm Pattis

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Attorney Norm Pattis has long been the go-to lawyer for controversial, high-profile cases in Connecticut. Two of his most notable recent cases:

Missing Mother

Fotis Dulos, the estranged husband of a missing mother of five, is arraigned on murder and kidnapping charges in Stamford Superior Court, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Stamford, Conn. Dulos had been previously charged with evidence tampering in the disappearance of his wife, Jennifer Dulos. (Erik Trautmann/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)

Fotis Dulos: The murder trial of Fotis Dulos would likely have come this fall. But his death in late January following a suicide attempt seemingly threw that into doubt. Pattis, however, has loudly signaled that he is not giving up on his client. “Mr. Dulos was tried and convicted in the court of public opinion,” Pattis said in a statement released after Dulos’ death. “Now he has been executed. We remain committed to demonstrating he did not murder Jennifer.” In a note reportedly left by Dulos before his death, Dulos continued to maintain his innocence. Pattis has vowed to take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to clear his client’s name.

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InfoWars host Alex Jones protests against 2020 Women's March in January 2020 in Washington, DC.

Alex Jones: The prominent internet personality and one-time “Sandy Hook truther,” who previously claimed the 2012 school shooting was a hoax, is being sued by families of the victims for defamation and harassment. Pattis acknowledges that the shootings happened, but defends Jones on free-speech grounds. 

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Some of Pattis' most noteworthy victories:

Kevin King (1999): Pattis won $2.1 million for King, a convicted murderer and rapist, after jail guards beat him during an escape attempt. King overpowered a guard while wielding a homemade knife, tied her up, put on her uniform and tried to walk out of the facility. When guards realized he wasn’t a staff member, they chased him down and a melee ensued during which King was injured by a shank he was carrying. Pattis convinced the jury that the guards overreacted during the violent struggle and had violated King’s civil rights.

Hartford firefighters (2002): Pattis won $3.2 million for a group of white and Hispanic Hartford firefighters in a reverse discrimination case. The group contended the department’s black chief sabotaged their promotions by allowing a promotion list with whites and Hispanics at the top to expire and then introducing a new list with black candidates in the lead positions. The deputy chief, who was also black, was accused of directing racially insulting language toward the firefighters.

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Anna Gristina, a.k.a. the “Manhattan Madam,” arrives at court with bodyguards in August 2012 in New York.

Anna Gristina (2012): The so-called “Manhattan Madam” was accused of running a high-class prostitution ring catering to wealthy men in New York City. The case attracted copious media attention. Pattis won a bond reduction that got Gristina out of jail and he negotiated a plea deal that spared her prison and kept her client list confidential.

Jonathan Gibbs (2014): Pattis won an acquittal for Gibbs, who was accused of shooting a man to death over a pair of sneakers in New Britain. A jury set Gibbs free in spite of his confession to police. Gibbs and his uncle met a man who said he wanted to buy Gibbs’ sneakers. When the man tried to steal the shoes, Gibbs alleged his uncle, not he, shot the man.

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Saifullah Khan leaves New Haven Superior Court In February 2018.

Saifullah Khan (2018): Pattis convinced a jury to clear the Yale University student of sexually assaulting a fellow Yale undergraduate. Yale initially readmitted Khan but then expelled him again in early 2019. Pattis says he is preparing a lawsuit seeking his reinstatement.

 

Other notable cases: Pattis represented Occupy New Haven in its fight to extend its stay on the New Haven Green; won a $1.5 million verdict for New Haven’s highest-ranking female firefighter in a gender discrimination case; and got criminal charges against conservative activist Lucian Wintrich dismissed after he grappled with an audience member who took his notes during his talk at UConn.

This article appeared in the March 2020 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get the latest and greatest content from Connecticut Magazine delivered right to your inbox. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram@connecticutmagazine and Twitter @connecticutmag.