Former Rockingham County prosecutor Jerome Blanchard begins work Monday as a criminal defense attorney with Russman Law in Exeter.
Blanchard was a primary whistleblower in the state’s investigation into former Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams. Blanchard was later fired by Patricia Conway, a longtime prosecutor in Reams’ office who was elected County Attorney in November.
Blanchard says he’s looking forward to joining Ryan Russman and Amy Connolly at Russman Law in Exeter on Monday. “It’s a new challenge, obviously criminal law isn’t new to me, but being a defense attorney is.”
Conway fired Blanchard on her first day in office. She maintains the firing was not retaliation against Blanchard for informing investigators that her husband, a former Salem police sergeant, had been improperly designated as “cleared” from a list of police officers with potential credibility issues maintained by the County Attorney.
“I’m in a difficult position because the law restricts me from getting into specifics about why I would terminate this person,” says Conway, “but I stand behind my position 110 percent.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Russman says “the County Attorney’s loss is my gain.” Before hiring Blanchard, Russman hired another former prosecutor, Amy Connolly, from the same office. “It’s too bad [Conway] couldn’t see beyond the politics,” he says. “He was the finest prosecutor in that office.”