SCRANTON -- The trial of a former state lawmaker from Scranton accused of assaulting his wife as abruptly called off Wednesday when he decided to enter a rehab program instead.
If Kevin Murphy fulfills his requirements the charges in this matter can be expunged.
Kevin Murphy's career in the State House of Representatives ended last month, but the assault charges that tarnished his last few months in office may now be cleared from his record.
Murphy was set to go to trial on those charges this week in Lackawanna County. But, before opening statements could begin, attorneys presented an alternative.
No trial as long as Murphy completes an alcohol rehab program.
"I tried to protect the children's best interest on July 20th, and I think by not making them testify today I think I served their best interest and their welfare here today," Murphy said outside the Lackawanna County Courthouse in Scranton.
Murphy's estranged wife Denise and their four children were set to testify at trial about what happened on July 20 of last year.
That's when Murphy was arrested. Police said Murphy was drunk and shoved and hit his wife, then repeatedly punched his wife's friend after a fight at her home in Scranton.
In this deal that was approved by the judge, Murphy did not plead guilty or even acknowledge the charges against him. And if he goes to 90 alcohol rehab classes in 90 days, those charges will be expunged.
Murphy's attorney said though, the former state representative still needed convincing.
"He was reluctant, he wanted to tell his side of the story. But the problem you run into is the risk is great, you have a jury that's going to decide the simple assault charges you have a judge that's going to decide the harassment charges," said defense attorney Paul Walker.
The state Attorney General's Office prosecuted Murphy's case, they say Murphy's not getting away scott free. This deal is pretty typical for domestic assault cases.
"This had nothing whatsoever to do with his former political office, or any other kind of influence. We have an obligation which I take extremely seriously to treat every complaint the same," said Deputy Attorney General Clarke Madden.
Attorney's with The AG's Office said if Murphy misses a rehab meeting, he will go to jail. And his case could wind up back at the courthouse.