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Former State Senator Sentenced To 60 Days In Jail On Domestic Violence Charges

Allegra Boverman

Former Whitefield State Senator Jeff Woodburn was sentenced to 60 days in jail Tuesday on domestic violence charges from 2018 that include biting his then-domestic partner.

In May, a Coos County jury convicted Woodburn, 56, on four charges, dismissing five others.

Woodburn has maintained he acted in self-defense and hoped to avoid jail time. Meanwhile, prosecutors asked Judge Peter Bornstein to require Woodburn to begin serving his sentence immediately. After his trial, Woodburn said he felt vindicated because jurors had dismissed most of the charges he faced. Citing those comments, prosecutors asked the judge to send Woodburn a message. 

“It is clear the defendant lacks remorse,” prosecutors wrote in a pre-sentencing memo.

At the time of his arrest in 2018, Woodburn had been Coos County’s most prominent politician and among the most powerful Democrats in the State House. His victim had been a local Democratic Party leader. Woodburn ignored bipartisan calls for his resignation in the weeks following his arrest. 

“I'm going my own direction; the people who have given me this job are the only people who can take it away. And I trust them,” Woodburn told the Concord Monitor in September of 2018. That November, voters turned him out of office.

Woodburn also lost his job as executive director for Youth With Chronic Conditions, a non-profit serving children with severe health challenges.

In filings with the court, Woodburn’s lawyer said his legal problems had cost him his political career and made it hard to secure employment with comparable pay and benefits. Woodburn has recently worked as line cook and server at the Cannon Mountain ski lodge and a bartender at the Profile Club in Franconia. He’s also advertised his services as a personal trainer.

Woodburn’s been active in state Democratic politics for years, serving as chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party from 1997 to 1999 and as district director for former Second District Congressman Dick Swett. As state senator, he rose to lead the Democratic caucus and was poised to serve as Senate president had he been re-elected.

During his trial in May, Woodburn’s former fiancée testified that he had aspirations to be governor. 

Bornstein ordered Woodburn to report to jail on August 13.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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