Former Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn (D-Whitefield) won’t go to trial a third time on domestic violence charges as New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella decided to drop the case.

“The state has tried Mr. Woodburn twice and secured convictions on certain charges against him. Taking into consideration the recent mistrial after a hung jury on several remaining charges, as well as other relevant factors, I have made the decision to not bring these remaining charges against Mr. Woodburn to trial a third time,” Formella said in a statement.

But Woodburn’s not free and clear of the scandal that ended his political career in 2018. He’s still fighting to appeal his convictions on two criminal mischief charges against the same alleged victim. Woodburn has two 30-day jail sentences hanging over him, though both of those sentences are stayed pending appeal. 

Mark Sisti, Woodburn’s attorney, said his client’s future remains up in the air until the state Supreme Court weighs in.

“There’s nothing solid right now,” Sisti said.

Woodburn was arrested in 2018 on charges he assaulted his former girlfriend in a series of incidents going back to December 2017. He was convicted at the 2021 trial on counts of domestic violence, simple assault, and criminal mischief. A subsequent Supreme Court decision overturned the domestic violence and simple assault convictions on the ground Woodburn was blocked from arguing self defense at the 2021 trial.

At the second trial this spring Woodburn was able to make his case that he was defending himself against his girlfriend when he bit her hand. The result was a hung jury and a mistrial. 

Rather than take the victim through another trial, and risk another loss in Coos Superior Court, Formella made the call to end the case.

“After prosecuting this case for nearly six years and two jury trials, I do not reach this decision lightly. Domestic violence is a serious, ongoing issue that must be addressed with the utmost care and resolve,” Formella said.

Woodburn lost political support almost immediately after he was charged in 2018, with Democratic leaders calling on him to step aside. Instead, Woodburn ran and won a primary to retain his Senate seat. But he lost the general election to an unknown Republican candidate and has been out of politics since.

Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley declined to respond to a request for comment. Sen. Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) who is serving as Senate Minority Leader, also refused to comment.

Formella thanked the victim for her bravery in repeatedly testifying against Woodburn, as did Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

“We have nothing but admiration for the brave survivor who shared her truth and paved the way for so many other domestic violence victims to break their silence. This survivor endured six years of legal proceedings in a high-profile case brought against Mr. Woodburn, who was in a position of power with higher political ambitions,” Grady Sexton said.

In Wednesday’s statement, Formella anticipates winning the next round at the Supreme Court and seeing Woodburn serve time for the criminal mischief convictions. Sisti warned the case isn’t over yet.

“I’m glad they seem very optimistic, but I’ll leave it to the Supreme Court to decide if Jeff goes to jail,” Sisti said.