Rhode Island man approached Don Bolduc, spurs incident

A man who approached Republican Don Bolduc before Wednesday night’s Granite State Debate at Saint Anselm College, leading to what police called a “disturbance,” is facing charges.Joseph Hart, 37, of Greenville, Rhode Island, is charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, according to Goffstown police.Police said Saint Anselm College officials told Hart, who was in a group of people that included dozens of supporters for both candidates outside the debate, he was no longer welcome on their property and had to leave.Police said a short time later, a “disturbance” occurred when Hart approached Bolduc as the candidate was greeting his supporters. Officers converged on the area and all parties were separated, police wrote in a news release.Hart was taken into custody by Goffstown police following the disturbance, police said.According to the Free Keene group, Hart is a “Libertarian activist.” In a news release sent to WMUR early Thursday morning, the group claims that Hart did not attempt to hit or make contact with Bolduc. In video shot by the group, Hart can be seen approaching Bolduc from the candidate’s side while holding a camera. Then, Bolduc can be seen saying, “He hit me,” shortly after police rush to break up the incident. View the Free Keene video here: Asked about the incident Thursday, Bolduc said he didn’t think he was assaulted.”I wouldn’t call it an assault, no,” Bolduc said. “If the police didn’t do their job, it probably would have been an assault, but you can’t speculate.”The video released by Free Keene appears to show Bolduc’s elbow going into Hart, but Bolduc said he didn’t assault Hart.”No, I didn’t assault anybody,” Bolduc said. “He closed … toward me, I was turning to protect myself and that was it. It was simple as that.”News 9 spoke with Hart by telephone, and he denied assaulting anyone.Bolduc and his opponent Sen. Maggie Hassan each answered a debate question about political violence in the wake of the attack on Paul Pelosi, and Bolduc made brief mention of the altercation.”I am really sorry for what happened to the speaker’s husband. Nobody should have that happen to them anywhere in America, but it’s a sign of the times. It’s a sign of political problems. Republicans and Democrats that fuel issues with people, that get them to the point where they are just so upset at an individual that they strike out at them,” Bolduc said during the debate. “It happened to me outside just before I came in here, right? This is wrong, and it needs to be stopped.”Hassan released a statement about the incident Thursday morning on Twitter:”The behavior of the Libertarian Party agitators toward Don Bolduc last night was despicable,” Hassan wrote. “I want to thank the Goffstown Police and St. Anselm College for their commitment to keeping everyone safe.”Hart was released on personal recognizance bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 1.Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Kevin Laroche at 603-497-4858, police said.

A man who approached Republican Don Bolduc before Wednesday night’s Granite State Debate at Saint Anselm College, leading to what police called a “disturbance,” is facing charges.

Joseph Hart

Joseph Hart, 37, of Greenville, Rhode Island, is charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, according to Goffstown police.

Police said Saint Anselm College officials told Hart, who was in a group of people that included dozens of supporters for both candidates outside the debate, he was no longer welcome on their property and had to leave.

Police said a short time later, a “disturbance” occurred when Hart approached Bolduc as the candidate was greeting his supporters. Officers converged on the area and all parties were separated, police wrote in a news release.

Hart was taken into custody by Goffstown police following the disturbance, police said.

According to the Free Keene group, Hart is a “Libertarian activist.” In a news release sent to WMUR early Thursday morning, the group claims that Hart did not attempt to hit or make contact with Bolduc. In video shot by the group, Hart can be seen approaching Bolduc from the candidate’s side while holding a camera. Then, Bolduc can be seen saying, “He hit me,” shortly after police rush to break up the incident.

View the Free Keene video here:

Asked about the incident Thursday, Bolduc said he didn’t think he was assaulted.

“I wouldn’t call it an assault, no,” Bolduc said. “If the police didn’t do their job, it probably would have been an assault, but you can’t speculate.”

The video released by Free Keene appears to show Bolduc’s elbow going into Hart, but Bolduc said he didn’t assault Hart.

“No, I didn’t assault anybody,” Bolduc said. “He closed … toward me, I was turning to protect myself and that was it. It was simple as that.”

News 9 spoke with Hart by telephone, and he denied assaulting anyone.

Bolduc and his opponent Sen. Maggie Hassan each answered a debate question about political violence in the wake of the attack on Paul Pelosi, and Bolduc made brief mention of the altercation.

“I am really sorry for what happened to the speaker’s husband. Nobody should have that happen to them anywhere in America, but it’s a sign of the times. It’s a sign of political problems. Republicans and Democrats that fuel issues with people, that get them to the point where they are just so upset at an individual that they strike out at them,” Bolduc said during the debate. “It happened to me outside just before I came in here, right? This is wrong, and it needs to be stopped.”

Hassan released a statement about the incident Thursday morning on Twitter:

“The behavior of the Libertarian Party agitators toward Don Bolduc last night was despicable,” Hassan wrote. “I want to thank the Goffstown Police and St. Anselm College for their commitment to keeping everyone safe.”

Hart was released on personal recognizance bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 1.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Kevin Laroche at 603-497-4858, police said.





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