Judge directs witnesses against using term 'kidnap' in Rep. Henriquez's trial

Andy Metzger, State House News Service
Jan. 8, 2014

Witnesses in the case against Rep. Carlos Henriquez, a Boston Democrat, will be directed not to use the term "kidnap" and when the alleged victim takes the stand she will be asked not to use the term "hostage," Judge Michele Hogan ruled ahead of the trial Wednesday.

Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Clarence Brown said the prosecution dropped a kidnapping charge because to press such a felony against Henriquez would have required a grand jury indictment.

"The case did not warrant indictment," said Brown, who said the facts still support the kidnapping and he would advise his witnesses not to use those terms.

Henriquez is charged with three counts of assault and battery, witness intimidation and larceny for allegedly stealing the victim's cell phone SIM card.

The charges developed from an early morning incident in July 2012, when Henriquez met a young woman he had been dating near her mother's home in Arlington Heights. While the two were in the backseat of a rented Zipcar, Henriquez allegedly became angry that she would not leave with him and allegedly back-handed her across the right side of her face, grabbed her by the throat and punched her in the chest area.

Henriquez then allegedly took her cell phone, which she later recovered minus the SIM card, and drove back into Boston where the woman jumped out of the stopped car near Northeastern University.

First elected in 2010, Henriquez was born and raised in Roxbury and is involved in the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative. He sits on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Henriquez, who declined comment at the Medford courthouse, issued a statement right after his arrest saying the allegations were "completely untrue." The statement was soon after rebuffed by the victim, Somerville resident Katherine Gonzalves, who held a press conference at a Back Bay law firm reasserting her claims that she had been assaulted.

In a hearing held about 11 a.m., Hogan ruled against a motion by Gonzalves attorney Rick Brody seeking to prohibit television cameras from recording the testimony of his client.

Henriquez attorney Stephanie Soriano-Mills argued that Gonzalves had held a "huge media spectacle" where she was video-taped and said the alleged crime is not sexual in nature - which would have afforded certain rights of privacy to the victim.

Soriano-Mills mentioned that Gonzalves had been charged some months after the July 2012 incident when she drove by Henriquez's home. The charge was annoying phone calls, Soriano-Mills said. Brody told the News Service the charge has been dismissed.

Soriano-Mills said photographs of the Zipcar had not been provided to her, and said Brown does not have possession of the photos either, although they are referenced in reports.

Brown, who said he inherited the case from a different prosecutor, said a search of the car uncovered a fingernail and an empty condom wrapper, and said no DNA analysis or fingerprint analysis had been performed.

A jury of five women and three men was impaneled in the trial of Rep. Carlos Henriquez, a Boston Democrat, in Cambridge District Court on Wednesday, just before the 1 p.m. break for lunch. The seating of a six-member jury and two alternates in midday should allow the attorneys to make opening arguments later in the day. Jury selection lasted less than an hour.

Soriano-Mills told the court she envisioned the case lasting until Monday or Tuesday.