CONCORD, N.H. – One of New Hampshire’s most prominent and influential Democrats was cleared of all allegations he once possessed child pornography.
New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte said at a press conference this afternoon that a two-month investigation into claims that New Hampshire Democratic Party Vice Chair Ray Buckley had used child pornography were “unsubstantiated”and “uncorroborated.'' No charges will be filed.
Instead, Ayotte said, her office considered filing charges against State Representative Steve Vaillancourt, a Manchester Republican and political rival of Buckley’s, whose letter alleging the crimes began the investigation.
But since Vaillancourt’s letter was sent to Governor John Lynch, a Democrat, and not to the police, Ayotte said, she couldn’t prove Vaillancourt knowingly submitted false information to law enforcement officials or that he intended for Buckley to be prosecuted.
Manchester lawyer John Kacavas, who represents Buckley, said his client is considering a lawsuit against Vaillancourt.
“This certainly meets the definition of defamation,” said Kacavas.
In late December Buckley released a list of endorsements showing he had enough support to become the next state Democratic Party Chair, replacing Kathy Sullivan, who is retiring. Days later Vaillancourt sent a letter to Lynch alleging that when he and Buckley lived together “you could not enter [Buckley’s] room without stepping over kiddie porn strewn on the floor.''
Lynch, who campaigned on his ability to pass stronger sexual predator laws, immediately asked Buckley to drop his bid for party chair. Buckley did. That act set off considerable media attention in New Hampshire and was the talk of the political class.