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Sen. Woodburn waives arraignment, pleads not guilty to all charges in domestic incidents

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 10. 2018 10:11PM

LANCASTER — State Sen. Jeff Woodburn has waived arraignment and entered not guilty pleas on all charges stemming from allegations of domestic violence against him.

Woodburn, the former Senate minority leader, had been scheduled for arraignment Aug. 20 in Lancaster District Court.

His not guilty pleas were expected, as the North Country senator had pledged to fight the charges when they were first announced by Attorney General Gordon MacDonald on Aug. 2.

Woodburn has stepped down as minority leader, but so far has said he still plans to run for reelection despite calls for him to resign from eight of his nine fellow Democrats in the 24-member senate.

Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, is the only incumbent Democrat to say he would await the outcome of the criminal justice process.

In paperwork filed Friday with the court, Woodburn formally entered not guilty pleas on charges of simple assault, domestic violence, criminal mischief and criminal trespassing.

The pleas and waiver of arraignment were entered on behalf of Woodburn by attorney Donna J. Brown, with the firm of Wadleigh, Starr and Peters of Manchester.

Brown also submitted her notice as counsel for Woodburn, who was previously represented by Preti Flaherty of Concord. A spokesman for Preti Flaherty said that firm is no longer representing Woodburn in the matter.

“Jeff has informed the court that he is requesting a trial and intends to fight these charges,” said Brown in an email. “Under the constitutions of both the United States and New Hampshire Jeff is presumed to be not guilty of these charges and has (pleaded) not guilty to these charges. It is our hope that all the citizens of New Hampshire do not engage in a rush to (judgment) and respect this presumption of innocence.”

The 53-year-old, three-term state senator is facing nine misdemeanor counts of violent contact with his “intimate partner,” from last August to this past June, according to the Attorney General.

Senate Democrats recently elected Sen. Donna Soucy of Manchester, previously the deputy minority leader, to replace Woodburn in the leadership position on an interim basis until the November election.

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