Authorities charged Laughton with a felony count of creating a public alarm for calling emergency services when there wasn’t an emergency and a misdemeanor count for theft of services from the cabbie. Laughton pled guilty to the misdemeanor but the county attorney didn’t prosecute the felony count.
Laughton was also convicted in 2006 of criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, for slashing the tires of her neighbor.
The revelation of Laughton’s criminal history has sparked New Hampshire GOP leaders to demand the state representative-elect resign before taking office.
New Hampshire House Majority Leader Pete Silva said Laughton should resign because of her failure to tell people about her felony past. “It is unfortunate that Ms. Laughton did not come clean with the voters of her district during the election process,” Silva said in a Monday morning statement. “If I lived in the district, I would be extremely disappointed to learn, just days after the election, that my neighborhood was going to be represented by a person that only four years ago was convicted of a felony charge involving conspiracy and fraud and served time in prison.”
“While I believe in a person’s ability to be rehabilitated and become a productive member of the community, I also believe it is a candidate’s duty to fully disclose their personal history to allow the voters an opportunity to make an informed decision,” Silva added. “Ms. Laughton failed to give the voters of her district that very basic amount of trust and respect. Lawmakers should hold themselves to a higher standard and Ms. Laughton has already failed the voters of her district by not being forthright with them. Ms. Laughton should step down immediately in order to allow for an election process where voters are given the opportunity to evaluate candidates through an open and transparent process; something they were denied on November 6th.”
It’s unclear whether Laughton will actually make it into office, or if she’ll resign before she gets there. New Hampshire Democratic Party leaders haven’t responded to specific allegations, nor have they defended Laughton’s criminal behavior or her failure to tell voters about it. But New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley did attack Silva in a mid-Monday statement, charging that he’s playing politics.
“The outgoing majority leader needs to accept the defeat dealt to him on November 6th and come to terms with the fact that he only has two weeks left in office as [New Hampshire Speaker of the House] Bill O’Brien’s chief lieutenant,” Buckley said. “The people have spoken and they roundly rejected Bill O’Brien and Pete Silva’s extreme agenda and it is now time to move New Hampshire forward, away from their divisive policies and tactics that moved us backwards for two years.”
The GOP lost control of the New Hampshire House in the 2012 election, though a resignation by Laughton would not put Republicans within reach of regaining control.
Laughton says she wants a chance: “I know we live in a society where they say once you’re a felon and shouldn’t be able to work here, or there. But people get out of jail, every day, and we spend so much to rehabilitate them. I just want to prove myself,” Laughton told Nashua Patch.