Kouri Richins claims letter wasn’t witness tampering, but excerpt from new novel
Prosecutors in the Kouri Richins case respond to accusations they violated her attorney-client privilege.
During a search of Kouri Richins’ cell in the Summit County Jail last week, police found a letter she wrote to her mother, Lisa Darden.
Kouri is accused of fatally poisoning her husband Eric Richins with fentanyl. She is being held without bail and is facing aggravated murder and drug charges.
It’s unclear if Darden ever read the letter, which contained instructions for four of her friends that are set to be interviewed on Good Morning America, among other things. Kouri wanted them to talk about Eric’s use of pills and paint his sisters as jealous of her.
In response to the letter being posted on the public case docket, Kouri’s defense attorney Skye Lazaro said the letter was inside of an envelope marked “attorney privilege,” and called the search “potentially illegal.”
In court documents filed Tuesday, prosecutors say Kouri’s letter was actually found in an LSAT prep book, during the police search of her cell and said the instructions to her family could constitute witness tampering.
The documents state that during a phone call with her mother last week, Kouri said the letter wasn’t instructions, but rather a work of fiction. She said the letter was an excerpt from a novel she’s writing about staying in a Mexican prison.
"When I first got in here I was telling you how I was writing a book," Richins said in the call, according to court documents. "Those papers were not a letter to you guys, they were part of my freaking book... I was writing this fictional mystery book... I go to Mexico and I'm like trying to find these drugs... you can very much tell that the whole thing is very much a story."
Prosecutors say this supports their notion that the letter wasn’t protected under attorney-client privilege.
They filed a no-contact order last week after discovering the letter. Lazaro has yet to file a response, but did file a request for the court to enforce a gag order.
The state now is asking the court to deny the defense’s motion accusing prosecutors of contempt of court.
Kouri’s next day in court will be Nov. 3, when a preliminary hearing could be arranged.