Warrant: Video confirms sealed custody report was on Michelle Troconis’ laptop at trial

Troconis was officially charged with criminal contempt of court after the verdict came down for allegedly displaying a court-sealed custody report pertaining to the Dulos divorce case on her laptop.

Marissa Alter

Mar 8, 2024, 1:13 AM

Updated 46 days ago


Court documents obtained by News 12 reveal new details about the contempt charge Michelle Troconis faces from her criminal trial.
On Friday, a jury convicted Troconis of conspiracy to commit murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit evidence tampering, two counts of evidence tampering and one count of hindering prosecution in the disappearance and presumed death of Jennifer Dulos on May 24, 2019.
Troconis was officially charged with criminal contempt of court after the verdict came down for allegedly displaying a court-sealed custody report pertaining to the Dulos divorce case on her laptop.
The report was part of the ongoing contentious custody battle between Jennifer and Fotis Dulos. It was completed in April 2019, but neither party was allowed to have a copy of it.
The guardian ad litem for the five Dulos children said each parent and their attorney had to come to his office to view the evaluation. The following month a family court judge sealed the report just before Jennifer Dulos vanished.
But on Feb. 15, during Troconis’ trial, an investigator with the State's Attorney's Office handed a note to prosecutors from Jennifer Dulos' close friend, Carrie Luft, who was sitting in the courtroom gallery. According to Troconis’ arrest warrant, Luft noticed Troconis had a document pulled up on her laptop that appeared to be the confidential custody report.
She told investigators the words were "clearly visible" and in "70-point font," explaining she was familiar with what was in the report because Jennifer Dulos had told her, the warrant said. "I have never seen the actual report. However, what I know of it, and what I was able to read on Michelle Troconis' monitor, leads me to believe that she was displaying some part of that report," Luft stated to investigators. Prosecutors raised the issue with the judge as soon as they received the note.
“We can't gloss over the serious nature of the idea of a violation of her having access to the report, her displaying it for everybody to see essentially,” said Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Manning in court.
At the time, Judge Kevin Randolph told prosecutors to investigate, and he'd take it up the next morning. On Feb. 16, they said they confirmed the allegations by watching videos of the trial, which was being live-streamed.
“It is amazing that nearly five years after Jennifer Dulos's death, that this defendant still will not let her rest in peace,” Assistant State’s Attorney Sean McGuinness concluded that morning.
The warrant gives additional insight into prosecutors’ investigation. A screen shot of the court footage showed, "nine partial sentences, from left to right and top to bottom, that contained approx. 82 total letters, numbers, and punctuation marks," which mirrored Page 50 of the confidential report, the warrant said.
On May 26, 2021, Judge John Blawie ruled Troconis’ defense counsel could get a copy of the sealed report but with the restriction that it could not be shared. The State’s Attorney’s Office said Troconis was present for that proceeding.
Troconis knowingly violated a court order by “unlawfully possessing the document that she knew was sealed from herself and the public, uploading it to her computer and displaying it in open court in the direct line of sight of media personnel currently live streaming the proceedings,” the warrant stated.
During the trial, News 12 asked attorney Jon Schoenhorn if his client had the report, “to my knowledge she does not have that report. She did not get it from me. Let's put it that way.”
His co-counsel, attorney Audrey Felsen, sat beside Troconis at trial, including when the alleged document was on her screen. But Felsen told the court she didn’t know anything about it.
“I have not reviewed the report in its entirety. I’ve never seen it on a computer. I have reviewed the last four or five pages that I was provided, and they were in paper form. I can say that I have never shared the contents of the report with Ms. Troconis. I don't know in fact whether she was reading from a memo or what it was,” Felsen told the judge.
The report, and who has it, has been an issue for years. State police said they found a copy of it in 2019 during a search of Fotis Dulos' home, which Troconis shared with him at the time. Schoenhorn referenced prior media coverage about whether Fotis Dulos’ defense attorney, Norm Pattis, had possession of it.
Troconis’ contempt hearing is set for March 21. She’s represented by Attorney Robert Frost.

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