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BREAKING NEWS: Soltani acquitted of felony charge, guilty on misdemeanor counts

Former Epsom state representative Tony Soltani takes the stand in his own defense at his trial at Merrimack County Superior Court ; Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.  

(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

Former Epsom state representative Tony Soltani takes the stand in his own defense at his trial at Merrimack County Superior Court ; Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

A jury this morning found former state representative Tony Soltani of Epsom guilty of misdemeanor charges of reckless and disorderly conduct, but not guilty of a heavier felony charge of reckless conduct, for his role in a police chase last year.

The verdict, read at about 10:30 a.m. at the Merrimack County Superior Court, marked the conclusion of a six-day trial, which prosecutor Michael Valentine had previewed last week as “a fairly simple and straightforward case.” Valentine was not available for immediate comment on the verdict.

Soltani will be sentenced at a later date, but each misdemeanor charge carries a maximum jail sentence of 12 months and a fine of up to $2,000 - a much lighter sentence than the felony charge would have brought. Soltani said he plans to appeal.

Still, when asked how he felt about the verdict, Soltani said that he felt “a little bit vindicated.”

Soltani was accused of driving at high speeds and endangering other drivers when he involved himself in a police pursuit of a fleeing car in Epsom last April. He had maintained that he was just trying to help.

“I feel relieved that the jury saw through the smoke and mirror of the felony charges trumped up by the prosecutor with the vengeful web of lies sewn by the police chief and Mr. (James) Kear,” he said, referencing the officer who arrested him on April 6. “I’m no felon. I did what my conscience dictated. And if the jury found that to be a misdemeanor that’s fine.”

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319 or jblackman@cmonitor.com.)

Tony will not spend a day in jail. Also he will get a little fine. And he Just might end up a select person in Epsom..what do you think of that? If he gets the over 60 vote he is in like Flynn..

My empirical view from reading was has been reported on this case is that Mr. Soltani was NOT trying to bully or buy his way out of this charge. I think the court system has sent a message loud & clear. Do NOT inject yourself or try to get involved in a police matter. His intentions might have been good. That still does not diminish the fact that innocent people could have been injured during his attempt to help. I am glad it was only a misdemeanor conviction. I think a felony would have been way to harsh. This should be a lesson to all who try to get involved in a police matter. Stay out unless the police ask you to help them.

So which do you prefer - you're Strat or your Ovation?

A little less hate would help all. None of you saw or heard all the evidence. None of you saw or heard the judges order that Officer Kear ILLEGALLY ARRESTED me. Nor the fact that the government witnesses including the chief, and the arresting officer admitted to having violated the law, the AG's directives, the Standard Operating Procedure, and the State mandates. Nor the fact that these same people contradicted their own report, and testimony, not to mention the testimony of each other, the bail commissioner and an officer from a neighboring town. Nor the fact that they hid the identity of the witnesses from the defense for seven months, until the judge ordered them to turn it over. One of the witnesses having been discharged by the Town under my watch for employee dishonesty, with a contradictory testimony to what the officer said. And Cam Isuzu, get over it. It was a long time ago when you got fired as the chief in Epsom. It wasn't my fault but yours for your , what was it 17 articles of misconduct?

Stay strong brotha!

Tony obviously feels he is above the law Tillie. The fact that he was endangering folks on the road, and could have killed folks, is not important to him. Playing Robo Cop is. He was the one who complained about his seat in the chamber because he is disabled. Everybody is out to get him it seems. He got a gift getting off on the felony charge, yet he is still not satisfied.

Reading through Soltani's testimony I almost feel sorry for him. I think he has real mental issues. But it doesn't excuse what he did. He was driving on the wrong side of the road and people had to pull over to get out of his way! Even if a cop had done that and killed someone I would have felt was this chase necessary. But to think a crazy citizen did it is frightening. Now he is going to appeal so this could go on for years. Hard to believe this man was a Rep(well maybe not) and a town attorney. He has no common sense.

Outstanding, the justice systems works, even when one of its own attempts to subvert or bully his way through the system. Officer Kear did the right thing supported by a jury of his peers. You can only hope the Citizens of Epsom do the right thing and support this officer and its Police Chief. I unfortunately have very little confidence they will.

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