Friday night, state House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt announced he would resign from the House and not seek re-election. “It is time for me to move on to the next exciting phase of my life,” he wrote. Bettencourt cited his upcoming marriage and a new position with the New Hampshire Legal Rights Foundation as the reason for his sudden resignation. It wasn’t the truth.
A state representative from Chichester said House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt falsified reports of a law school internship and did not tell the truth Friday about why he decided to resign from the House.
“He made it just sound like it was a career transfer,” [state Rep. Brandon Giuda] said. “I’m not going to let a 20-year-old, lying young man impugn my credibility.”
Giuda said that he had agreed to provide Bettencourt with an intern position earlier this year after Bettencourt told him that he would not have enough credits to graduate from law school without it.
But Bettencourt only showed up at the office for a single day, said Giuda. “I assumed he went to the school and said ‘I didn’t do the internship.’” Then Giuda learned that Bettencourt had submitted reports describing 165 hours of legal work over an 11 week period.
“They talk about court hearings that never happened,” Giuda said. “They’re very, very detailed, and they’re scary because they took him quite a while to write them… . When I saw the level of detail, I said, ‘Something’s wrong with this kid.’ ” Giuda said he called a meeting with O’Brien and Bettencourt on Friday, where he demanded Bettencourt resign citing “personal problems” and go to the law school and make a complete confession.
When Bettencourt failed to publicly acknowledge the real reason for his resignation, Giuda went public.
Update: James Pindell reports that Bettencourt has resigned, effective immediately. In a written statement, Bettencourt acknowledged his academic misconduct:
It is true that I misrepresented work as work I performed for Attorney Giuda. I take full responsibility for my conduct; I apologize to my family, friends, colleagues and above all my constituents.