Political activist pleads not guilty to assault; wife contests ‘victim’ label

By Judith Meyer, Sun Journal
Posted July 22, 2011, at 5:19 a.m.

FARMINGTON — Investment adviser and political activist Lawrence E. Dwight Jr. has pleaded not guilty to a sole charge of domestic violence assault.

Dwight, 54, known professionally as J Dwight, entered the plea in 12th District Court Thursday morning, through a motion filed by his attorney Kevin Joyce.

Dwight’s bail was amended to permit him to return to the family residence on Orchard Drive in Wilton.

According to court records, Dwight requested amended bail with the full support of his wife, Adrienne Neary, described as “the alleged victim in this case.” It is Neary’s wish, according to the court, that her husband be allowed to have unrestricted contact with her, and that “the circumstances of the case do not warrant that the defendant be prohibited from having any contact whatsoever with his wife.”

According to Joyce, Dwight was “very happy that the court has allowed him to return home and be reunited with his wife.”

Dwight was arrested Saturday and charged with domestic violence assault when Wilton police responded to a complaint about a disturbance at the home. According to police, Dwight appeared to be intoxicated and officers determined there was probable cause for the arrest.

Dwight was taken to the Franklin County Jail and released Sunday on $250 cash bail. The bail conditions prohibited him from returning to the family home, which is also Dwight’s workplace. He had been staying at the Comfort Inn in Wilton since his release.

Although the amended bail conditions have allowed Dwight to return home, the bond still prohibits him from using or possessing alcohol or from possessing dangerous weapons. According to family friend John Frary, who has been posting comments about the situation on the online forum “As Maine Goes,” Frary took possession of the alcohol that was in Dwight’s house, along with firearms and ammunition, to help him abide by the bail bond.

According to Frary, a Farmington writer and former college professor who was the 2008 Republican nominee for the 2nd Congressional District, Neary is frustrated by her status as the court-described “victim” in this case because she doesn’t see herself as a victim. According to Frary’s post, Neary told him that by the time police arrived at their home, the argument had long been resolved and the family was out by the pool enjoying the evening.

Neary, Frary wrote, “believes that Gov. Paul LePage is the real target of the front-page treatment” of Dwight’s arrest, a belief shared by a number of others posting comments on AMG and on sunjournal.com.

Learning of Dwight’s arrest Tuesday, the governor issued a statement saying that he “expected” Dwight to voluntarily step down from his appointed position on the state’s Consensus Economic Forecasting Committee, which advises the governor, the Legislature and others on economic trends, while his legal issues remain pending. Dwight, who was appointed to that committee in May, agreed to do so.

Neary has also posted a comment about the situation on AMG, critical of what she believes to be a “reckless, politically motivated media” publishing reports that will have far-reaching and harmful effects on herself and her family over what she considers to be “an innocent, honest mistake.”

In that post, Neary suggested that her husband deserves “the benefit of a doubt.”

When entering the not guilty plea Thursday morning, Joyce requested a jury trial request form in case Dwight decides to request his case be moved to Franklin County Superior Court for trial. Joyce was represented at the bail hearing by his colleague, Woody Hanstein, who accompanied Dwight and his wife to the proceeding.

To see more from the Sun Journal, visit sunjournal.com.

CORRECTION:

This story was corrected to reflect the presence of attorney Woody Hanstein, J Dwight and Adrienne Neary at the bail hearing. Information contained in the original version was incorrectly provided to the Sun Journal.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/07/22/politics/state-house/political-activist-pleads-not-guilty-to-assault-wife-contests-%e2%80%98victim%e2%80%99-label/ printed on July 31, 2014