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Rockingham County Attorney James Reams resigned from office on Tuesday, ending a months-long battle with the state. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/FILE PHOTO)

Rockingham County Attorney Reams resigns, ending months-long battle with the state over removal

BRENTWOOD – Rockingham County Attorney James Reams resigned from office on Tuesday, suddenly ending a months-long battle with state prosecutors seeking to remove him for alleged misconduct that included sexual harassment and ethical violations.

His resignation was part of an agreement struck with Rockingham County Commissioners.

The decision by Reams, of Hampton, upends removal proceedings pending against him filed by state Attorney General Joe Foster. The case was expected to go to trial Aug. 4.

"The settlement ends the prospect of a long, public trial into allegations that Mr. Reams mistreated female employees throughout his terms of office, improperly used un-appropriated forfeiture funds, and engaged in significant ethical lapses in connection with his criminal prosecutorial functions," county commissioners said in a released statement Tuesday afternoon.

Reams was expected to remain in office – on a state-monitored basis – until the end of his term in January.

He returned to office on April 30 after winning a major decision in a lawsuit he filed against the state challenging his six-month suspension during the investigation into his office.

His departure could prompt the 90-member county delegation to appoint an interim county attorney.

An appointment could shake up the fall primary for the county attorney post, and serve as a sought-after endorsement for the four Republican candidates who have been courting state representatives who make up the delegation.

(For more on this story, see Wednesday's edition of the New Hampshire Union Leader.)

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