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N.H.'s deputy insurance commissioner arrested on domestic violence charge

DJ Bettencourt stands in front of a sign for the State of New Hampshire Insurance Department
NH Insurance Department
Prior to being named to the Insurance Department post, D.J. Bettencourt served as Gov. Chris Sununu's policy director and leader of the Governor's Economic Reopening Task Force.

D.J. Bettencourt, the deputy commissioner at the New Hampshire Insurance Department and former top aide for Gov. Chris Sununu, has been arrested on a domestic violence charge.

Bettencourt, 38, was arrested early Thursday morning, accused of grabbing his wife and pulling her out of bed. He claimed to see a text message on her phone that he believed referred to another man, according to a Salem police report.

Bettencourt told police he did not touch or grab his wife, according to court records, but he did acknowledge slamming down her phone, which prompted her to call police.

According to the police report, Bettencourt’s wife told police the couple is undergoing marriage counseling and that what her husband thought was a text referring to another man was instead “a diary of her thoughts,” written in a note-taking app on her phone.

In a statement issued to the Eagle-Tribune, Bettencourt's wife asked for privacy, saying, "We do hope it’s clear when this process plays out, that it’s not as it may seem and I support and love my husband."

Bettencourt did not respond to a request for comment from NHPR, nor did the New Hampshire Insurance Department, where he is the No. 2 official.

Prior to being named to the Insurance Department post, Bettencourt served as Sununu's policy director and leader of the Governor's Economic Reopening Task Force.

On Friday, Sununu said it was his understanding that Bettencourt "has been placed on administrative leave while we await further details."

“[Bettencourt’s wife] has publicly asked for privacy for her family at this time and we should respect her wishes,” Sununu added.

Bettencourt, a Republican, has been involved in state and local politics for nearly two decades.

He was first elected to the New Hampshire House to represent his hometown of Salem in 2004. In 2012, while serving as the House Majority Leader, Bettencourt abruptly resigned when it was revealed he’d lied to professors at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where he was then a student, about whether he had properly completed an internship.

Bettencourt ultimately graduated from law school but worked outside of politics for several years before Sununu named him as a staffer in 2017.

Sununu, who also grew up in Salem, later endorsed Bettencourt in his runs for municipal office.

Bettencourt currently sits on Salem's Charter Commission and Budget Committee.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.
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