New Hampshire Democratic Representative-elect Stacie Laughton – the first-ever transgender official elected to a public office – is resigning before she takes office because of the discovery of her criminal history.
The Laconia Daily Sun reported over the weekend that Laughton is a felon. No one discovered Laughton’s criminal history until after the election, though, because she was legally named Barry Charles Laughton, Jr. when she pleaded guilty to criminal charges in court.
“Laughton, recently elected as one of three lawmakers to represent Hillsborough County House District 31, is a convicted felon and served 4-1/2 months in jail in 2008 for conspiracy to commit credit card fraud,” The Laconia Daily Sun reports. “She was also convicted of tire slashing and at one point reportedly admitted she faked illness to gain an ambulance ride from Weirs Beach back to the heart of Laconia.”
While Laughton initially indicated she was planning to weather the political storm that was coming after New Hampshire House Republican Leader Pete Silva called for her resignation, a since-surfaced interpretation of the law made her change her mind.
According to the conservative-leaning Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, New Hampshire law allows Laughton to vote, but since she’s still technically serving her sentence via probation, she’s not legally allowed to hold the public office.
Local Nashua Patch.com reported Tuesday that Laughton changed her mind and decided to call it quits after her case was referred to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office. That office had already launched the beginning stages of an investigation before Laughton announced her resignation.
“I’m extremely disappointed,” Laughton told Nashua Patch on Tuesday after reportedly discussing the matter with New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley and other party officials.
Laughton said her own lawyer told her that “given the magnitude of this, it will cost a lot and I don’t have a very strong argument.”