CT Family Court crusader Nickola Cunha has been arrested. She was taken into custody by Wallingford CT police tonight at about 7:20 pm. She was dining with her husband, Luis Cunha, at Christo’s Restaurant and Bar when three uniformed police officers entered the premises.
They arrested and handcuffed Nickola Cunha. Police also arrested Luis Cunha for allegedly interfering with his wife’s arrest.
According to witnesses, several more police officers and a CT Marshal were outside the restaurant.
Cunha, an attorney for more than 20 years, was disbarred by CT Judge Thomas Moukawsher on January 25. Moukawsher decreed Cunha lied to him and committed misconduct when she alleged abusive and prejudicial misconduct of CT Family Court Judge Gerard Adleman against women and mothers.
Moukawsher noted that Cunha alleged Judge Adelman favored Jewish lawyers, court-appointed therapists, and custody evaluators over non-Jews.
Moukawsher called her claims “empty and malicious.”
Judge Thomas Moukawsher found Cunha in contempt and issued a warrant for her arrest. He claimed she failed to follow court instructions to close her law practice and allegedly withdrew $30,000 from a client’s account in violation of his court order. She failed to appear in court as he ordered.
Cunha admitted she withdrew $30,000 on February 2, a week after her disbarment.
“The funds belonged to me. I provided a complete accounting with three months of bank statements. The money was earned pursuant to valid written agreements with one client. I provided a complete list of all active files. I turned over all files to the Trustee that clients didn’t request directly or directed that I give to an attorney on their behalf.”
Cunha has long been a thorn in the side of a well-oiled, tight group of family court practitioners. She maintains this is retaliation.
For years, Cunha has called out judges and attorneys for allegedly corrupt, collusive arrangements that seem to award custody to the parent with the most money in high-conflict divorce cases.
“It is a criminal racketeering conspiracy,” she alleged.
Unlike other states, CT judges can disbar attorneys for misconduct without a formal hearing process and with no right to confrontation of witnesses.
The Friday night arrest appears timed to coincide with a plan to keep Cunha in custody over the weekend. The court did not provide her with an opportunity to make bail. She will appear in court on Monday.
Police released Cunha’s husband on $5000 bail.
Detractors have called Cunha anti-Semitic because of her charge that Adelman favors Jews.
Cunha claims she is not anti-Semitic and told Frank Report that she was stating what she believes is a fact.
Cunha argued that because she alleged Adelman favors Jewish court actors does not mean she is biased against Jews.
“I am not anti-Semitic,” Cunha said. “Anyone who knows me knows that I have always vigorously represented litigants regardless of religion, race, color, creed, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
Cunha reportedly was taken to York-Niantic Correctional Prison to be processed, and is likely to spend the weekend there.
After arresting Luis Cunha, witnesses overheard police say he put his hands on one of the officers. An eyewitness said he did not touch the officer. Frank Report learned that video cameras were operational in the restaurant and may show the truth of the allegations.
This week, Brian B. Staines, with the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, filed notice that his investigation of Cunha suggests she improperly paid herself $78,000 in legal fees, declaring she had no right to charge a client for legal services performed for the client over several years.
A week ago, Cunha called herself a victim. Calling it a “grave, malicious prosecution, miscarriage of justice, and victimizing of myself by Judge Gerard Adelman, Judge Thomas Moukawsher, Judge Jane Grossman and Michael Kamp,” she said she seeks the “immediate censoring” of these judges.
Cunha has argued her arrest warrant is illegal and is retaliation.
“I was never afforded notice of the alleged wrongdoings that Judge Moukawsher falsely accused me of committing. I was never provided the ability to defend the false claims published by Judge Moukawsher. Judge Moukawsher continues to issue false narratives,” she said.
She added, “I fully respect and support all religions.”