Assault case against Maine political activist dismissed

By Staff, Sun Journal
Posted Aug. 17, 2011, at 5:42 p.m.

FARMINGTON, Maine — The Franklin County District Attorney’s Office has dropped a domestic assault charge filed against Lawrence E. Dwight Jr. of Wilton.

Franklin County Assistant District Attorney James Andrews said due to “insufficient evidence” there was no complaint filed against Dwight.

Dwight, 53, who is known professionally as J Dwight, was arrested July 16 and charged with domestic violence assault after Wilton police responded to a complaint about a disturbance at the family’s home on Orchard Drive.

According to police, Dwight, an investment adviser and political activist, appeared to be intoxicated and officers determined there was probable cause for the arrest.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge in 12th District Court on July 21.

According to a court clerk, the District Attorney’s Office has decided not to pursue a complaint against Dwight.

Dwight served on the state’s Consensus Economic Forecasting Committee. He served as an at-large member and was appointed by the other members of the committee, who were appointed by the governor and Legislature, respectively.

Before that appointment he wrote a monthly column for the the Sun Journal titled, “Populist Economics.” He was not writing for the newspaper at the time of his arrest.

After learning of the arrest in July, LePage’s office issued a statement saying the governor expected Dwight to voluntarily step down from that committee, which he did. LePage emphasized at the time the allegations were serious and he believed they would be a distraction from the important work of the committee.

On Wednesday, Adrienne Bennett, the governor’s press secretary, said LePage would not be involved in any decision as to whether Dwight should be returned to the post.

“These were serious allegations, which we now know were unfounded,” Bennett said. “But as to the decision to whether he should return, it would be up to the members of that committee to make a decision on that.”

Dwight was arrested after police officers received a call from an elderly family member in another state, who had talked with Dwight’s wife, Adrienne Neary Dwight, by phone earlier in the evening, shortly after the Dwights had an argument, according to a statement Dwight issued Wednesday through the public relations firm Reputation Strategies of Yarmouth.

That family member called back several hours later but was unable to reach Dwight’s wife because her phone was recharging, the release stated. Out of concern, the family member called local police.

Kevin Joyce, a Farmington attorney who represented Dwight, said that when police arrived the argument was long since over and that Dwight, his wife and their 20-year-old son were enjoying a quiet evening together in the back yard.

“All three made it clear to the officers that the argument had been nothing more than a normal marital spat,” Joyce said. “Law enforcement personnel have specific protocols to follow when domestic abuse is under investigation. We don’t fault them for doing so.”

In the press release, Dwight said that he was impressed by the professionalism with which all officials acted in the case.

When contacted Wednesday, Adrienne Neary Dwight declined to speak to the Sun Journal about the incident.

In his statement, Dwight said, “Both law enforcement and the county district attorney acted professionally,” adding that, “My wife and I can’t say the same about those who turned a personal situation into a political weapon.”

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

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/08/17/politics/assault-case-against-maine-political-activist-dismissed/ printed on August 1, 2014