Jury selection set to start in Connecticut judge threat case

AP News
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Posted: Mar 03, 2015 2:50 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Edward Taupier's lawyer says his client was just venting about the judge in his divorce and child custody case when he sent an email to six acquaintances that mentioned weapons and the judge's home. But Connecticut state police and prosecutors say Taupier's comments were threatening and so disturbing that authorities had to arrest him and seize his guns.

A jury will soon hear evidence in Taupier's case. Jury selection is set to begin Wednesday in Middletown Superior Court, near Hartford.

In the email sent last August to fellow critics of Connecticut's Family Court system, Taupier wrote about how Judge Elizabeth Bozzuto's bedroom is 245 yards from a cemetery "that provides cover and concealment."

Taupier then talks generally about how a certain rifle fires at 250 yards from a target, then adds "unless you sleep with level 3 body armor or live on the ISS (International Space Station) you should be careful of actions."

Taupier also wrote, "They can steal my kids from my cold dead bleeding cordite filled fists ... as my 60 round mag falls to the floor and I'm dying as ... I change out to the next 30 (round mag)."

Bozzuto didn't receive the email. One of the recipients told a lawyer, who alerted authorities.

Police with warrants raided Taupier's home in Cromwell in August and charged him with felony threatening and several other crimes. Authorities also seized 15 firearms, more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition and 64 pistol and rifle magazines of various calibers. Officials said Taupier, who has a valid pistol permit and legally owned the guns, wasn't supposed to have any weapons in his home under a court order from his divorce case.

Taupier, 49, who says he lost his job in the financial industry because of the allegations against him, believes he was exercising his free speech rights talking about Bozzuto and accuses police of violating his constitutional rights to bear arms and be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, according to court documents. He posted bail, but remains under house arrest.

Taupier and his lawyer, Rachel Baird, declined to comment Tuesday, citing the upcoming trial.

Taupier's arrest in August came a year after he was charged with felony voyeurism for allegedly taking a video of his wife naked without her knowledge and posting it on the Internet. He has pleaded not guilty in that case, which remains pending.

Baird, in court documents, said Taupier was only venting about Bozzuto in frustration and had no plans to harm her. But Judge David Gold said during a court hearing in November that the email suggested otherwise.

"Certainly one can interpret this email to suggest that the defendant was prepared to bring harm to Judge Bozzuto, had staked out her home, had measured distances from areas of covered concealment near, by her home, and was in a position to attempt to harm her from a distance of 245 yards by using a particular type of firearm," Gold said.