NH Senate minority leader facing criminal charges

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CONCORD, N.H. (WCAX) New Hampshire's top-ranking Democratic senator was out of jail Thursday night after being arrested on domestic violence and assault charges. Now, Granite State political leaders are calling for him to resign.

The attorney general charged Jeff Woodburn, 53, of Whitefield, with striking and biting a female partner multiple times between December 2017 and June of this year.

In all, the Senate minority leader is charged with four counts of simple assault, two counts of domestic violence, two counts of criminal mischief and one count of criminal trespassing.

The attorney general's office says the criminal mischief and trespassing charges are from an accusation he kicked in the locked door to the woman's home and entered without permission. While these are allegations at this point, colleagues on both sides of the aisle are already demanding he step down.

Despite bipartisan calls for him to resign, Woodburn said in a statement late Thursday that he intends "to fully address and defend against these charges in court."

The New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley issued a statement saying: "The New Hampshire Democratic Party stands firm in our belief that any form of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or domestic violence is completely unacceptable behavior for anyone let alone our public officials who should all be held to a higher standard. We take these accusations against Senator Jeff Woodburn very seriously and stand with his accuser and support her during this unimaginably painful time. We are asking Senator Woodburn to resign from office immediately."

Republican Governor Chris Sununu tweeted: "Senator Woodburn's morally reprehensible, violent behavior has no place in public service, or anywhere else. Domestic violence will not be tolerated in New Hampshire. Senator Woodburn must resign immediately."

The New Hampshire Republican Party tweeted out, in part: "As a state senator and the highest-ranking leader of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, Senator Woodburn has betrayed the public trust and inflicted serious and lasting harm. He should resign immediately."

Democratic Congresswoman Annie Kuster said: "The allegations against Senator Woodburn are deeply disturbing and unacceptable. Domestic violence is abhorrent and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Senator Woodburn should resign his position immediately."

Woodburn is scheduled to be arraigned in court Aug. 18 in Lancaster. Bail was set at $500 cash and $10,000 personal recognizance.