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Rockingham County Attorney files lawsuit to access office, but doors remain locked

Union Leader Correspondent

December 11. 2013 5:48PM
Suspended Rockingham County Attorney James Reams is continuing his legal battle to be re-instated to his job, and gain access to his office. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/FILE PHOTO)

BRENTWOOD - Embattled County Attorney James Reams filed a second lawsuit on Wednesday to fight the county commissioner's decision to ban him from his office in the wake of his suspension by the Attorney General last month.

Reams filed the lawsuit in Rockingham County Superior Court, days after his lawyer Michael Ramsdell sent commissioners a letter warning that they would face a lawsuit if they did not let Reams access to his office by Tuesday.

The long-time county attorney is the subject of a state and federal investigation into the management of his office. Attorney General Joe Foster suspended Reams on the night of Nov. 6.

The New Hampshire Union Leader reported on Wednesday that investigators are scrutinizing a forfeiture account controlled by Reams, and allegations by female employees that they have endured inappropriate comments or touching by their boss dating back to 1999.

Reams, a Republican, has been elected eight times to his post since 1998 and earns $81,730 a year, according to county records.

Even if commissioners reversed their ban on Reams, he still would not be able to physically enter his office.

The locks to Reams' office were changed at the outset of the investigation and only the Attorney General's Office has access to it, Interim County Attorney James Boffetti said.

County Commissioner Vice Chairman Kevin Coyle said that commissioners will not budge on their Nov. 6 decision to bar Reams from entering county premises.

'As long as the Attorney General is suspending his prosecutorial authority, I see no reason for him to be in the office,' Coyle said.

Coyle, a Londonderry town prosecutor who ran against Reams in 2008, said it makes no sense that Reams would want to have contact with employees who are potential witnesses in the investigation.

'He of all people should know when an investigation is ongoing, you separate people. What the Attorney General is doing is not surprising and it should not surprise him in any way.'

Reams said that he has nothing to fear from the investigation and believes it is being motivated by 'political agendas.'

'I think I will be able to prove that when we start taking depositions,' he said. 'I think there's been a lot of disinformation being put out there by people with agendas.'

Reams said depositions in the lawsuits will begin early next year.

He is due back in Merrimack County Superior Court on Thursday to ask a judge to force state prosecutors into handing over more evidence collected during their probe.

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