STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — The wife of a once-prominent Connecticut attorney told jurors Monday that her husband brutally beat her when she served him with divorce papers.

Mary Margaret Farren shared her story for the first time publicly as she testified at the attempted-murder trial of Michael Farren, who served as deputy White House counsel under President George W. Bush.

“He came forcefully toward me, and he put his hands around my neck and, in one motion, he tackled me to the ground,” she described of the alleged 2010 attack in the couple’s New Canaan mansion.

As WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported, Mary Margaret Farren testified that her husband repeatedly slammed her head on the hardwood floor of their bedroom and then reached for a flashlight he kept near the bed.

“He took the flashlight in his hands and started hitting me in my face and my head,” she said.

Jurors only saw a photo of the defendant. Michael Farren won an unusual request to be tried in absentia, arguing the trial could cause significant psychological problems.

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