Mechanic’s trial in indecent assault cases postponed

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Jun. 23—BEVERLY — A last-minute effort by the lawyer for a Beverly auto repair shop owner to resolve indecent assault and battery charges without the case going to trial failed on Tuesday.

Hysenj Baliqi, 62, the owner of Zeni’s Auto Body on Cabot Street, is facing charges of groping and kissing four different women who had taken vehicles to him for service since 2018.

At least three of the cases had been set to go to trial on Tuesday in Salem District Court when Baliqi’s lawyer, Robert Griffin, told a judge that he wanted to try to resolve the case without going to trial.

Prosecutor Kelly Waldo, in court papers, requested a 2 1/2 year jail term for Baliqi, with 18 months to be served and the balance suspended for three years, during which he would be on probation, if Baliqi pleaded guilty prior to trial.

Griffin, meanwhile, sought a continuation without a finding for 18 months, a disposition that would spare Baliqi from a record of a conviction.

But it would not spare him from having to admit to sufficient facts for a guilty finding. and when the case finally made it in front of a judge, he balked.

A court spokeswoman and court papers say Baliqi did not make it through a colloquy by the judge, during which he would have been required to admit to the facts in the case.

Due to several procedural requirements and then a delay in getting an Albanian interpreter for Baliqi, the hearing was pushed into the afternoon, requiring the accusers and witnesses to wait all morning, then return after the lunch recess.

The cases are now scheduled to be back in court on July 8 for a motion by Waldo to “join” the fourth case to the three earlier cases.

A new trial date was set for July 25.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

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