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NH state Sen. Keith Murphy acquitted in assault case

NH Senate chamber
Allegra Boverman
The Senate chamber at the New Hampshire State House.

Republican state Sen. Keith Murphy has been acquitted on three misdemeanor counts stemming from an interaction last year with an employee inside his restaurant.

Murphy was accused by Manchester police of spitting on and threatening an employee with a plastic chair.

After a bench trial during which Murphy testified, Judge James Gleason found him not guilty on two counts of misdemeanor simple assault and one count of criminal threatening.

Donna Brown, who represented Murphy in his criminal case, said Thursday that her client “believes he was the victim” during the interaction. Security footage showed a tense exchange between the two men, according to Brown, but did not clearly show Murphy spitting on the employee, as prosecutors alleged.

“He was dealing with a volatile person in a volatile situation,” Brown said. “He was very relieved that he was finally vindicated.”

In a statement Friday, Murphy criticized how Manchester police handled the investigation, and said the accusations caused a sharp drop in business at his restaurant, which hurt employees.

"Now it's time to get back to work," he said.

Murphy served four terms in the New Hampshire House, representing Manchester, before winning a seat in the state Senate in 2022.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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