An attorney for Kaitlin Armstrong, who has been charged with the murder of a professional cyclist, has claimed that “sensationalised” media coverage spurred on by prosecutors has made it impossible for her to receive a fair trial “anywhere in the English-speaking world”.
Rick Cofer argued that law enforcement had pushed a false and prejudicial narrative about Ms Armstrong in a new court filing opposing the prosecution’s motion to prohibit any public statements about the case.
“The misogynistic and fictitious theme of most relevant articles is that Ms Armstrong is a ‘possessive’ woman who ‘gunned down’ her ‘romantic rival’ in a ‘fit of jealousy,’” Ms Armtrong’s lawyer told the court in a filing first obtained by Fox News.
Ms Armstrong, 34, is charged with killing professional cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson, who had gone on a date with her boyfriend, pro-cyclist Colin Armstrong, earlier in the day.
The part-time yoga teacher went on the run for 43 days before she was arrested in a beach resort in Costa Rica.
Mr Cofer claimed that “government actors” had ignited a “carnival-like media storm”.
“The result of this widespread, biased publicity is that there is virtually nowhere in the English-speaking world where Ms. Armstrong could receive a fair trial today,” Mr Cofer argued.
He took particular issue with statements made by US Marshalls at a press conference held in Costa Rica after Ms Armstrong’s arrest.
Deputies portrayed Ms Armstrong’s “lawful travel to New York as ‘fleeing’ from justice” and stoked prejudice by creating an image of Ms Armstrong as among the “most ‘violent’ and ‘worst of the worst’ criminals”, he claimed.
“Deputy (Brandon) Filla did not mention the ’43-day manhunt’ for Ms Armstrong was a direct result of law enforcement incompetence.”
Mr Cofer has previously alleged in court filings that a police affidavit in support of her arrest warrant had “factual errors”.
Ms Wilson, 25, a competitive gravel and mountain bike racer from Vermont, was found dead on 11 May in her friend’s Austin, Texas apartment.
That day, she met fellow pro cyclist Colin Strickland, with whom she had an on-again, off-again relationship when Ms Strickland and his then-girlfriend Ms Armstrong were on a hiatus.
The two went for a swim and then got dinner, before Ms Wilson returned to the friend’s apartment.
They briefly took Ms Armstrong into custody on a separate warrant, before allowing her to leave when they realised the warrant wasn’t valid.
Ms Armstrong then used aliases and fake passports to first travel to New York, before catching an international flight under a different identity to Costa Rica, according to authorities.
US Marshals and local authorities tracked Ms Armstrong down to the popular Pacific coast beach resort of Santa Teresa.
The 34-year-old real was arrested at Don Jon’s Lodge in Santa Teresa, where Marshals said she had been trying to set up a new life.
She was extradited to the United States on 2 July and is being held on a $3.5m bond for the first-degree murder of Ms Wilson.
Her next court appearance is scheduled for next Wednesday, and a trial has been set for October.