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Independent candidate for Suffolk DA accused in 2014 by former wife of abuse, violent threats

Suffolk DA candidate Michael Maloney. Barry Chin/Globe Staff/File

Michael Maloney, an independent candidate for Suffolk district attorney, was accused by his former wife of pushing her, throwing objects at her, and threatening to harm her and kill her father, according to court records.

The documents detail three alleged outbursts between July 2013 and Nov. 1, 2014, when Maloney returned to the couple’s Easton home drunk and “started spiraling into a rage,” according to a restraining order filed against him on Nov. 10, 2014.

“The rage became worse and worse as he threatened to cut my father’s throat multiple times,” Johnna Powell, Maloney’s wife at the time, wrote in a three-page affidavit filed in Bristol Probate Court in support of a restraining order.


Maloney smashed the top of their oven, cutting his hand and splattering blood on the walls and kitchen floor, according to the affidavit. Powell said she was so scared that she called her in-laws and spent the night at their home.

“There were several more incidents of violence, physical property damage and verbal abuse,” she wrote. “Additionally, he has told me he wants to hurt me. All of the above has made me reach my breaking point.”

The restraining order was granted and extended twice at Powell’s request, court records show. The Nov. 1 incident caused an “irretrievable breakdown in the marriage,” according to documents related to the divorce, which was granted in January 2016.

In a statement, Maloney declined to comment on the specific allegations.

“I do not wish to violate my former wife’s privacy,” he said. “It was a very difficult period for both of us. The restraining order was voluntarily vacated by her the day our divorce was finalized. We have amicably communicated since.”

Powell, who no longer lives in Massachusetts, declined to comment in a brief telephone interview.

“That was a very difficult time in my life,” she said.


Maloney has positioned himself as a more moderate alternative to Rachael Rollins, the Democratic nominee who is considered a heavy favorite to win next month’s election and become the first woman to hold the position. A former federal prosecutor who is running a reform-minded campaign, Rollins defeated four other candidates in the September primary, winning nearly 40 percent of the vote.

Maloney, 38, a defense attorney from Brockton, has described Rollins, 47, as too extreme in her move to reform the county’s criminal justice system, and has criticized her proposal not to prosecute 15 low-level crimes, including shoplifting, trespassing, and resisting arrest.

Rollins has described her plan as “aspirational” and said she is seeking feedback from law enforcement on how to implement it if she is elected.

“The overarching objective of the Suffolk District Attorney’s office is safety of the community,” Maloney said in a Sept. 19 interview with the Globe. “There is a difference between reform at all costs and responsible reform.”

During the same interview, his campaign manager, Linda Arian, said survivors of domestic violence had been gravitating toward Maloney’s campaign.

“He’s been on the front lines with people who are battling domestic violence, protecting them,” she said. “He knows what it’s like to file a restraining order.”

Maloney did not mention his marriage to Powell during the interview.

Powell and Maloney married in Lenox in December 2011 and the relationship quickly grew tumultuous, according to court records.

In July 2013, he grabbed a hammer and began punching holes in the garage wall of their home, according to Powell’s affidavit. He did not stop until she called the police, she wrote. During other fights, he threw mail at her, ripped pages from her diary, and threw her suitcase in and out of the house when she threatened to leave, according to her affidavit.


Powell described an incident on July 30, 2014, in New York that escalated from a verbal argument to him pushing her on the couch, then again on a bed.

He then smashed a chair and threatened to break a picture on the wall unless she gave him her wedding ring.

He had been chain-smoking marijuana cigarettes and during their fight blew smoke in her face, Powell wrote. He grabbed her glasses off her face and threw them across the room, she wrote. He also threw her phone across the room, cracking the screen.

She called the police, but when they arrived she was “under such duress that I left out a lot of detail.”

“I also became very worried about the consequences he would face so I was muted in the description that I gave,” she wrote. After the police left, the arguing resumed.

“There was more pushing in the bathroom as he grabbed my phone from me again,” she wrote. “I had a bruise on my leg for two weeks afterward as a result of the physical altercation that ensued.”

Eventually, the couple, who did not have children, signed an agreement in which she vacated the restraining order.


Maria Cramer can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @globemcramer.