August 18, 2018
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Businessman denies NH cops gave him info illegally taken from ex-wife’s phone

Deb Cram | Portsmouth Herald
Deb Cram | Portsmouth Herald
A Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Police Department shoulder patch and badge.
By Elizabeth Dinan, Portsmouth Herald

RYE, New Hampshire — Local businessman Jonathan Bobbett denies allegations in a federal lawsuit claiming Portsmouth police illegally obtained information from his ex-wife’s cellphone to help him in a child custody case.

In a sworn affidavit, filed with the U.S. District Court of New Hampshire, Bobbett reports he “did not receive any information, directly or indirectly, from any police officer or other personnel associated with the city of Portsmouth.” His affidavit is filed with two others and a motion to dismiss the suit that was brought by Bobbett’s former wife, Oneta Bobbett, against the city of Portsmouth, police detective Kristyn Bernier and former detective Michael Leclair.

A judge last month ruled Oneta Bobbett’s allegations have been “sufficiently alleged” for her suit to continue in the federal court. Oneta Bobbett claims her phone was seized by Portsmouth police as part of a criminal case against her, that the charges were later dismissed and annulled, while information from her phone, about her possibly moving to Atlanta, was “funneled to” her husband during a custody dispute.

But in Jonathan Bobbett’s new affidavit, he reports having concerns about his wife moving to Atlanta with their child because they rented a condo in Atlanta, she had personal relationships with people in Atlanta and had started the only other chapter of her nonprofit, Jaden’s Ladder, in Atlanta. Jonathan Bobbett’s affidavit states no one affiliated with Portsmouth police mentioned her possible move to Atlanta, but a personal chef, assistant and business partner did tell him she “had some intentions to relocate to Atlanta.”

In last month’s court order, a judge wrote Jonathan Bobbett, “had socialized with members of the Police Department, taken members on trips to Hong Kong, Russia and Las Vegas, and made charitable donations to the department.” Oneta Bobbett alleges one Portsmouth officer went to a strip bar with her former husband.

Jonathan Bobbett’s new affidavit states he does not know the two detectives named in his ex-wife’s lawsuit and he calls her allegations “inaccurate.”

In an affidavit of former detective Leclair, also just filed with the federal court, he says he does not know either of the Bobbetts and his extent of the criminal case against Oneta Bobbett was extracting information from her cellphone, as directed by a court-issued search warrant. Leclair’s affidavit says the only person he shared the information with was detective Bernier.

An affidavit of Bernier was also filed with the federal court this week, in which she notes the search warrant for Oneta Bobbett’s phone was authorized by a judge. She also states in her April 3 statement that she does not know Jonathan Bobbett, never spoke with him and did not disseminate information from Oneta Bobbett’s phone with anyone outside the confines of the criminal investigation.

The three affidavits were filed with the federal court with a motion asking a judge to dismiss Oneta Bobbett’s lawsuit on the grounds she can not succeed on her claims against the detectives or the city. The court ruled last month that Bobbett’s allegations, at that stage of the litigation, were sufficient to allege the city and detectives “acted with malice” when they prosecuted her.

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