Barbara Howard: As we’ve been covering this afternoon, Bryon Hefner, the estranged husband of former Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg — he was in court today, entering his plea, his lawyer whispering in his ear as the multiple charges that he now faces were read off to him.
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Charging indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over?
Bryon Hefner: Not guilty.
Howard: Hefner was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court. It was his first court appearance since his indictment last month on a number of charges, including sexual assault.
In the courtroom for Hefner's arraignment was WGBH Radio's Adam Reilly. He joins us in the studio. Hi, Adam.
Adam Reilly: Hey, Barbara.
Howard: So lay out the charges against Hefner.
Reilly: There are five counts he is facing of indecent assault and battery, one count of open and gross lewdness, four counts of unlawfully disseminating naked pictures of someone. And let me explain in a slightly different way what this means — he's accused of misbehaving very badly with four different people: one person who he groped on a couple occasions, another person who he kissed without their consent, a third person he groped, tried to get into bed with, and then exposed himself to, and a fourth person who ended up in a hotel room with Hefner after having a lot to drink and later learned that Hefner had naked pictures of him that he had been showing around.
Howard: And these, of course, are allegations. And we have to remember that this is in the context of his relationship with Stan Rosenberg — there's allegations that he was saying he had clout to influence Stan Rosenberg.
Reilly: Right, and the Senate is currently looking into whether Hefner exercised untoward influence on the Senate's deliberations. It was fascinating — in the courtroom today, Hefner was sitting with the media, surrounded by members of the media, and maybe two or three feet away from him was Yvonne Abraham, the Globe columnist who broke the story of Hefner's alleged misdeeds. And, you know, really, her reporting helped drive Stan Rosenberg out of the Senate presidency.
Howard: Well, did Hefner have anything to say when it was all over?
Reilly: Well, he was very quiet and composed in court, didn't interact with the people around him, including Yvonne Abraham, stared straight ahead. Afterward, there was a big media scrum, people trying to get him to comment. He did not comment, but his attorney distributed a printed statement to the press after they exited. It said “Mr. Hefner-Rosenberg” — interesting use of last name there, interesting choice of last name — “has pled not guilty, looks forward to defending himself in a court of law where his accusers cannot remain anonymous. Unfortunately, he's already been pilloried in the press for political purposes.”
Howard: That's from his lawyer.
Reilly: That's from his attorney.
Howard: OK, so what's next?
Reilly: It's going to take a while for this to unfold. There's a pre-trial hearing scheduled for this coming June, but the trial itself is not scheduled to start until March 2019.
Howard: OK. Thanks for coming in, Adam.
Reilly: Thanks, Barbara.
Howard: That's WGBH Radio's Adam Reilly. He's been following the case of Bryon Hefner, estranged husband of former State Senate President Stan Rosenberg. Hefner was arraigned today on multiple charges, including sexual assault.