Lawyers for Michelle Kosilek, the convicted murderer seeking taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery, are requesting reimbursement from the state of more than $800,000 in fees and costs for the pro bono work they have performed in her federal lawsuit since 2000.
The case, which was argued in US District Court in Boston, culminated last month in Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf’s ruling that Kosilek is entitled to the surgery because it is the only adequate treatment for her gender identity disorder. The state is appealing the ruling.
Frances S. Cohen , a lawyer for Kosilek, wrote in a court filing Thursday that the law firms that have represented Kosilek are not seeking to profit from the roughly $806,000 in requested reimbursements.
“Both firms will apply costs awarded to defray the actual out-of-pocket costs of the firm and fees awarded to a charitable contribution or to support the firms’ pro bono programs,” Cohen wrote.
Kosilek, now in her 60s, was born Robert Kosilek and began transitioning to a female identity in 1990, the year that Kosilek strangled his wife, Cheryl McCaul. Michelle Kosilek has been staying in a men’s prison while taking hormones and developing female physical qualities. Under Globe policy, Kosilek is being referred to as a woman because that is the gender with which she identifies.
McCaul’s niece, Laura J. Brandel, of Plymouth, criticized the reimbursement request.
“Why don’t they donate [the fees] to my cousins, her children that were robbed of their mother?” Brandel said. “He’s a freak. This crap needs to stop. It’s just disgusting; it really is.”
Last month, Wolf called on lawyers for Kosilek and the state Department of Correction to negotiate a settlement over the legal fees, saying the state may be facing some hefty bills. Under law, a prevailing plaintiff is entitled to reimbursement for money spent on the case.
The Correction Department and Governor Deval Patrick’s office both declined to comment on the reimbursement request from Kosilek’s legal team. Cohen had offered to waive attorney’s fees if the state agreed to comply with Wolf’s ruling and not pursue an appeal.
“As for now, the offer is still on the table,” Cohen said Thursday in a brief phone interview.
In a hand-written affidavit filed Thursday, Kosilek also requested $698.69 in reimbursement for postage and other expenses incurred during the litigation.
“Having prevailed, I am asking the court to order the [state] to reimburse me for my expenses,” she wrote.