SOUTH PARIS — A former candidate for district attorney argued Tuesday that half a dozen charges filed against him, including attempted sexual assault, should be dismissed.

Seth Carey Oxford County Sheriff’s Office photo

Seth Carey, 46, faces six charges stemming from allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman living at his Rumford home in 2018. Two of the charges are felonies, one of which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

A judge in Oxford County Superior Court made no ruling Tuesday and took the matter under advisement.

Carey was indicted in August by an Oxford County grand jury on misdemeanor charges of unlawful sexual contact, two counts of domestic violence assault and engaging in prostitution, in addition to two felony charges — attempted gross sexual assault and attempted aggravated sex trafficking.

Carey’s motion, filed in July, argues that the criminal charges filed against him earlier this year should have been brought in 2019 when Carey was charged by the Office of the Maine Attorney General with the misdemeanor, unauthorized practice of law.

Bringing charges against Carey stemming from the same events amounted to prosecuting him again for conduct for which he has already answered in court.

Carey’s attorney, James Howaniec, wrote in the motion that he had asked that prosecutor if he was aware of any other legal action being sought against Carey. The answer was, “No,” Howaniec wrote.

In her response to the motion to dismiss, Hancock County Assistant District Attorney Heather Staples wrote that Maine law separates offices of district attorneys and that of the attorney general.

The case had been referred to Staples’ office out of the office of the district attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties due to a conflict of interest.

Carey ran as the Republican nominee against the incumbent District Attorney Andrew Robinson in the 2018 race.

Staples called to the witness stand Tuesday a prosecutor from a different district who had been recruited to undertake the independent review of Facebook and phone messages involving Carey as part of the state’s investigation. Staples said she wanted to be sure no attorney/client communications were contained in the messages.

She said her office had only received that redacted material in October 2020, just four months before her office filed charges against Carey.

Howaniec had raised issues in his motion that Staples’ office had dragged its feet in bringing the charges.

Howaniec called Maine State Police Detective Michael Chavez to the witness stand Tuesday to walk the investigator through his probe of the allegations against Carey.

Howaniec also wrote in his motion that the charges had raised “concerns about malicious prosecution.”

Staples answered in her brief that her office has “no vested interest whatsoever in the politics surround the defendant’s past and possible future campaign for district attorney of Prosecutorial District 3.”

She wrote that the reason for referring the case to her district was, in fact, to avoid any possible conflict of interest. Carey, whose license to practice law in Maine was suspended in 2018 for three years, is expected to apply for reinstatement when his suspension is due to expire at the end of this month.

In his motion, Carey said he has plans to run for district attorney next year.

He is free on $2,000 cash bail after his arrest in Florida in March.

The August indictment against Carey states that he attempted to force the woman who lived in his home into a sex act by grabbing her hair and pulling her face toward his crotch.

It was later reported during civil court hearings that he had tried to pay for her silence about the matter.

In June, Carey secured a court order barring the woman from coming near him or possessing a firearm, after she threatened him if he were to come near her children.

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