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Despite Limited Courtroom Work, Formella Says He's Ready To Lead N.H. Justice Depart.

The exterior of the New Hampshire Department of Justice in Concord.
NHPR File Photo

John Formella, Gov. Chris Sununu's pick to be New Hampshire's next attorney general, made the case for his qualifications during his confirmation hearing before the Executive Council Thursday.

Formella, who is 34 and has been Sununu’s legal counsel for the past four years, said that despite limited courtroom experience, he's ready to serve as the state's top law enforcement official.

Related: After Years Behind The Scenes, Formella Hopes For Bigger Stage As N.H.'s Attorney General

“I think it’s clear, when you look at my experience, that I’ve got what it takes and the skills necessary to serve as the state’s next attorney general,” Formella told the five-member council, which must approve his nomination.

While Formella won praise from several top state officials who testified on his behalf, his limited time in the courtroom was something the council’s lone Democrat, Cinde Warmington, sought to highlight in her questioning.

She asked Formella if he had ever tried a criminal jury trial or bench trial. Formella’s answer to both questions was “no.”

Under further questioning, Formella acknowledged he’d never taken a deposition, though he did note that he’d appeared in court on several small claims matters.

Formella told councilors that, if confirmed, he’d rely on the expertise of other lawyers at the Department of Justice until he got up to speed, particularly in criminal matters.

If he’s confirmed Formella will be the youngest New Hampshire attorney general in at least half a century. He would succeed Gordon MacDonald, whom Sununu appointed earlier this year to serve as chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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