Hefner trial could unfold over five days

Boston Statehouse

Bryon Hefner Rosenberg, husband of former Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, was in Suffolk Superior Court on Tuesday for a hearing ahead of his assault and battery trial slated for next month. (Pool Photo/Nicolaus Czarnecki/Boston Herald)

BOSTON (SHNS) – Lawyers on both sides expect the trial next month of Bryon Hefner Rosenberg, the husband of former Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, on five counts of indecent assault and battery, to last three to five days once a jury is impaneled.

Hefner was indicted in March 2018 in connection with his alleged sexual assault and harassment of men on Beacon Hill.

Hefner’s assault trial is now set to begin on Sept. 11, starting with a juror selection process that Judge Mary Ames said “may take a little bit of time.” Hefner, his attorney Tracy Miner, and prosecutors from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office appeared before Ames in Suffolk County Superior Court Tuesday for a pretrial conference.

Hefner, who has pleaded not guilty, last month successfully sought to have the charges against him split into two trials. He will face four counts of disseminating a picture of a nude or partially nude person at a later date.
Ames said “publicity” will be “one of the most important” questions in selecting jurors.

The surfacing of allegations against Hefner in late 2017 set off a period of turmoil on Beacon Hill, sparking an investigation into Rosenberg’s conduct and leadership and ultimately prompting the Amherst Democrat to resign first from the Senate presidency and later his seat in the Legislature.

Saying she wanted to be able to “touch base once more” with the lawyers and iron out any remaining issues, Ames scheduled two additional pretrial hearings next month, on Sept. 3 and Sept. 10.

On Sept. 3, the lawyers from Healey’s office will be expected to report back to Ames on a request Miner made for some additional documents and information.

Miner said she was seeking communications among the alleged victims about Hefner or Rosenberg, and specific bank records that relate to meals people said they had on specific dates. She said her client has the messages he exchanged with the alleged victims, but “what he doesn’t have is what they have with each other about him.” Asked by Ames what evidence she had that such messages exist, Miner said the alleged victims were “three people who knew each other quite well.”

Ian Polumbaum, a special assistant attorney general, said the request lacked specificity and put a burden on the witnesses.

“It’s exploratory, is what they’re trying to do,” he said.

Ames told the prosecutors to bring Miner’s request to the complainants, explore what documents they had available and in their custody, and report back to her next week.

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