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December 06. 2013 9:33PM

Reams threatens to sue county commissioners

BRENTWOOD — Embattled County Attorney James Reams notified county commissioners that he intends to file a lawsuit against them if he is not granted access to his office by Tuesday.

County Commissioner Kevin Coyle said on Friday that the commissioners received a letter from Reams' attorney Michael Ramsdell warning them about the potential lawsuit.

Reams was suspended from his prosecutorial duties on the night of Nov. 6 just hours before state and federal prosecutors announced they were investigating operational and management issues within his office.

State prosecutors have refused to divulge the nature of the investigation. County commissioners barred Reams from county premises, and put his deputy county attorney Tom Reid, and a victim witness advocate on paid administrative leave at the request of Attorney General Joe Foster and U.S. Attorney John Kacavas.

Reams said in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader last week that he was asked to step down from his elected post, which he has held since 1998.

He said during the interview that employees in his office have been barred from speaking with him, and he has been denied access to any records or witness statements related to the case.

Current and past employees of Reams' office have been interviewed as part of the investigation.

If Reams files the lawsuit, it will be his second court action battling his removal from office.

Reams was expected in Merrimack County Superior Court on Thursday as part of a court action he filed challenging Foster's authority to temporarily remove him from office.

The last time a state attorney general suspended a county attorney from office was in June 1974.

Ramsdell requested a 14-day extension for the hearing late last week.

The request was approved by a judge. It also allowed state prosecutors to file their response in the case just three days prior to the hearing.

Reams said he believes the attorney general has no authority to remove him for operational issues.

"It's an assertion of power that's unprecedented in this state," Reams said in the interview.

jkimble@newstote.com


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