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Election fraud charges against Sunapee man dropped for second time

By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent

November 14. 2017 7:47PM
A judge has dropped election fraud charges against Sunapee's Joseph Furlong. (Meghan Pierce/Union Leader Correspondent)



NEWPORT — A District Court judge has dropped charges for a second time against a Sunapee man, who was accused of election fraud.

Joseph Furlong of Sunapee and Adam Gaw of Manchester were accused earlier this year of forging an email aimed at turning the March 2016 school board election in favor of Furlong’s wife.

Heather Furlong, Furlong’s wife, won the 2016 Sunapee School Board election, garnering a two-year seat on the board but resigned after her husband’s arrest.

Sunapee Police Chief David Cahill alleged in the arrest affidavit that the men altered an email related to the 2016 Sunapee School Board election just days before the election, revising statements in the email as well as adding an entirely new statement.

According to investigators, the false statement was an attempt to make two other candidates look bad in the final days before the vote.

Furlong was initially charged with six misdemeanor charges on Feb. 28. Those charges were dropped and three others were filed. In August the new charges were dismissed because the one-year statute of limitations on the alleged misconduct had expired.

Brian Buonamano, an assistant attorney general in the Election Law Unit of the state Attorney General’s Office, said in September the office had filed a motion for reconsideration after charges were dismissed against Furlong.

Also in September Joseph and Heather Furlong appeared before the Superior Court in Newport seeking a restraining order to protect them from Cahill, alleging intimidation and harassment from him, which they were denied.

In his Oct 27 decision, Newport District Court Judge Gregory E. Michael affirmed the court’s previous decision, issued on Aug. 22, writing that investigators did not believe Furlong in his initial interviews and believed he had made up Gaw and that he was “fictitious.” However, when Furlong was charged Gaw went to police, which resulted in charges against Gaw and altered charges against Furlong.

“As this Court pointed out in its original order, while the activity complained of by the State is essentially the same, which is the writing of a false document or altering the writing of a document, the new charges specifically state that these actions were completed by Adam Gaw.

“As a result of the appearance of Mr. Gaw which, quite frankly, should have been more thoroughly investigated before the initial charges were brought, the Court finds these factual changes in the new complaints to be material and not insignificant. While the State suggests to the Court that it ‘doesn’t matter’ how the initial charges were framed, this Court finds that it does matter. The State failed to properly investigate the facts surrounding these complaints and as a result wishes the Court endorse its failure; this the Court will not do so,” Michael wrote.

mpierce@newstote.com


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