Devaney's trial slated for Dec. 13
She could be branded as a convicted felon, lose her state pension, and be forced to relinquish the seat she's held on the Watertown Town Council for 26 years. It's a nightmare Marilyn Petitto Devaney said she can hardly believe is real, as she now prepares for her own criminal trial.
"I still feel I want to wake up and realize this was all a dream," Devaney said Tuesday afternoon after her appearance in Waltham District Court on criminal charges. Judge Gregory Flynn set the trial date as Dec. 13.
Devaney, 69, a member of the Governor's Council and a councilor-at-large on Watertown's panel, has been charged with felony assault and battery with a curling iron, stemming from an April 13 run-in with a store clerk at Sally Beauty Supply on River Street in Waltham. She pleaded not guilty.
During the reported dispute, clerk Adriana Latif accused Devaney of trying to use her status as a member of the Governor's Council to write a personal check for some items, including a curling iron, without a driver's license. Latif told police that when she refused to accept the check, citing store policy, Devaney threw the shopping bag, hitting her in the chest. Latif added that she was not injured.
Devaney said she finds it "scary" the case has gotten so far, based solely on the accusations of one person. "If they had a camera, it would've showed I tossed the bag on the counter. That's it," Devaney said of a store video camera that police initially thought might provide some clues as to what happened.
"I think if all the parties involved took a lie-detector test, we'd find out the truth and this would be all over with," Devaney said.
With the intense local, and even national, media coverage that surrounded her arraignment, Devaney said she knows she faces an uphill battle "trying to win back my good name. For those who don't know me, it hurts, and it hurts my family. All they know are these outrageous accusations."
Still, she said she's opted to appear before a jury, although she wonders if she'll be able to get a fair trial. "Because I'm a governor's councilor and represent the executive branch of the government and make all these judicial appointments, I feel more comfortable having a jury of my peers."
How the case will affect Devaney's bid for reelection to the Town Council in November is unclear. First elected in 1981, Devaney is the the longest-serving councilor. In the last decade or so, she also has been the highest vote-getter by a large margin. "All I know is the people who know me know what my accusers are saying is not true."
Over the next few months, Devaney said, the upcoming trial will not derail her work as an elected official for both the state and Watertown. But she acknowledges the stress and uncertainty is likely to color the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays for her and her family.
"I don't want this case to interfere" with constituents who may need help, but are hesitant to call because of her legal troubles, Devaney said. "I want people to call me."
Christina Pazzanese can be reached at email@example.com.