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Palm Beach Daily News - 05/16/98

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During divorce proceedings, Fagan accused Kurth of being a neglectful mother with an alcohol problem; Kurth accused Fagan of insurance fraud.

Fagan made a life for himself and his daughters in Palm Beach Country under the alias William Martin. He told them their mother had died in an automobile accident.

Fagan remains in Palm Beach on $250,000 bail. Fagan's next court date is a June 19 status hearing in Framingham, Mass., District Court. Fagan does not have [to] be present, prosecutors said.

By producing the court documents Friday, Fagan's attorneys tried to bolster his likely defense – that he had to kidnap his daughters because Kurth's alcoholism threatened their safety. Fagan's lawyers also cast doubts on Kurth's statements that what appeared to be symptoms of drinking was narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that causes sudden attacks of deep sleep.

Fagan's Boston attorney said the court documents contradict comments by Kurth's attorney that the sleep disorder forced Kurth to stop driving 20 years ago.

Fagan's West Palm Beach attorney, David Roth, said the court documents came to light during the defense's ongoing investigation of Kurth.

"Mr. Fagan was aware of his former wife's alcohol problem, but he was not aware of the conviction for two separate DUIs in 1978 and 1979," Roth said.

Roth and Fagan's Boston attorney, Richard Egbert, said Kurth did not disclose her arrests during custody hearings.

Kurth's attorneys did not return calls Friday.

"A minor accident" in Shelburne, Vt., led to Kurth's October 1978 arrest, according to a police officer's affidavit provided by Fagan's attorneys. The affidavit states that Kurth's alcohol-breathalyzer test registered 0.23.

Kurth originally plead not guilty, but changed the plea to guilty Feb. 26, 1979, according to a court document released by Fagan's attorneys. She was fined $125, according to the court document.

The second arrest, in January 1979, followed an automobile accident on U.S. Route 7 in New Haven, Vt., according to a police officer's affidavit provided by Fagan's attorney. Kurth left the scene of the accident, the affidavit said. When police found Kurth, an officer smelled alcohol on her breath, the affidavit said.

Kurth again changed her not guilty plea to guilty and paid a $200 fine, the records provided by Fagan's attorneys show. The court dismissed a charge of leaving the scene of an accident.

The Addison County District Court confirmed Friday that a Barbara Fagan had plead guilty to a Jan. 21, 1979, DWI arrest and that the state had dropped a charge of leaving the scene of an accident.

The first arrest and guilty plea could not be confirmed Friday.

Fagan's attorneys also released a document showing that Kurth's driver's license – under the name Fagan – was suspended for one year on Feb. 26, 1979, and for three years on June 27, 1979. The suspensions were not on the court records released by Fagan's attorneys, although the forms contained spaces for noting license suspensions.

Expect the Fagan camp to produce more documents in its efforts to fight what it calls "the campaign of misinformation conducted by Mrs. Kurth's legal team," Roth said.

"There will be subsequent information forthcoming concerning Mrs. Kurth's claims of narcolepsy," Roth said.

Fagan "takes no pleasure in releasing this information publicly… It's never been his intent to vilify Rachael and Lisa's mother."

Kurth fights back in the Dateline interview, denying allegations she neglected her daughters.

Kurth also responded to comments made last month by Rachael and Lisa on NBC's Today show. The daughters said Fagan had something to tell them when Lisa turned 21. Lisa's 21st birthday fell on the day police arrested Fagan.

"I think that he made up that part and he told them to say it," Kurth said. "And I can tell them that the thing that I recent the most about Stephen Fagan now is that he is having them in lie for him. It's one thing for him to lie, but he is having them lie for him. And they know they're lying."

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