A handcuffed state Representative Carlos Henriquez entered and left a State House hearing room Friday without a word to assembled media hordes, but his attorney emerged to cast doubt on the legal proceedings that led to the second-term lawmaker’s assault conviction.
Henriquez met for about a half-hour this afternoon with the House Ethics Committee, which had summoned him from the Middlesex County House of Corrections as House leaders work to force him to resign.
The disciplinary panel’s infrequent proceedings are secret, and, by House rules, lawmakers who discuss them face punishment.
Henriquez’s attorney, Stephanie Soriano-Mills, told reporters at the State House that her client had not decided whether to resign.
But she said she has notified the Cambridge District Court that Henriquez will appeal his conviction. Soriano-Mills impugned the victim of the assault and the makeup of the Middlesex jury, which convicted the lawmaker on two counts of assault and battery,
“I think there was a real lack of credibility on behalf of the named witness, Katherine Gonzalves,” Soriano-Mills said. “She gave about six different variations of a story.”
She also said Henriquez should have been accorded a more diverse jury, not the “all white’’ jury that convicted the Dorchester Democrat.
“A jury of your peers generally reflects a vast range of people of different cultures, nationalities, races – and that didn’t happen, per se, in this case,” Soriano-Mills said. “It’s Middlesex County, so I think that we had a jury that was very – there wasn’t a lot of diversity.”
The Globe has reported the jury was composed of five women and three men.
The House Ethics Committee is comprised entirely of white lawmakers.
The dramatic image of a state lawmaker escorted by sheriff’s deputies into a hearing room generally reserved for more mundane policy matters drew packs of TV cameras and reporters to State House entrances. The locked-down proceedings prevented House staffers from indicating even how Henriquez might come into the building.
Henriquez did not respond to a shouted question as he was led into the hearing room and he was equally silent as he left less than 30 minutes later.
He is now serving a six-month prison term at the Middlesex County House of Correction.
After the doors to the committee room closed behind him, a phalanx of court officers and state troopers stood guard, allowing only members of the committee, led by Vice Chair David Nangle, to enter.
House leaders are hoping to force Henriquez to resign, but say they would move to expel him from the body if he does not. The unusual subpoena for him to appear today — a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum — was the first step in the process that could result in his expulsion.
Middlesex County prosecutors said that Henriquez drove to Arlington on July 8, 2012, to pick up Gonzalves and assaulted her inside the car, snatched her cellphone, and drove to Boston. There, prosecutors said, Gonzalves jumped out of the car and received assistance from Boston and Northeastern University police.
While convicting Henriquez on two assault charges, a jury acquitted him on a third assault charge, one count of witness intimidation, and one count of larceny under $250.
Following his conviction on Jan. 15, the second-term lawmaker was promptly sentenced to 2½ years in the Middlesex County House of Correction, with six months to be served behind bars.
Almost immediately, Governor Deval Patrick, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston called for Henriquez to resign, and DeLeo said the House would move to expel him if he did not quit.
On Jan. 16, the House authorized the Ethics Committee to subpoena Henriquez, the first step in a process that could result in Henriquez’s expulsion from the body.
The last state lawmaker expelled from either chamber, an action that requires a full membership vote, was Joseph DiCarlo, a Revere Democrat convicted of extortion and conspiracy who was drummed out of the Senate in 1977.
According to the House clerk’s office, research indicated that the last House lawmaker to be expelled was probably Frank J. Gethro, a Boston Democrat whom colleagues voted out in 1906 amid bribery charges.
Correction: A previous version of this story mischaracterized a statement by Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian. Koutoujian said he was at the State House visiting his own friends.Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at Stephanie.Ebbert@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @StephanieEbbert. Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at James.OSullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports. Globe reporter Michael Levenson contributed to this report.
Correction: A previous version of this story mischaracterized a statement by Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian. Koutoujian said he was at the State House visiting his own friends.