Top New Hampshire prosecutor moves over to the feds

Jan. 3—One of the top prosecutors in the New Hampshire Justice Department has left the office after 10 years and taken a job prosecuting federal crimes.

Geoffrey Ward, who oversaw the Criminal Justice Bureau for state Attorney General John Formella, worked his last day for the state on Friday, said Formella spokesman Michael Garrity.

Ward started Tuesday as a federal prosecutor under Jane Young, the top federal prosecutor in New Hampshire and a former deputy New Hampshire attorney general.

"It's good cross-pollination," said Garrity, adding the move solidifies a strong relationship between state and federal prosecutors in New Hampshire.

"You hate to lose him, but becoming a federal prosecutor, that's a great opportunity," he said.

The Criminal Justice Bureau handles most of the high-profile work at the New Hampshire Justice Department, including prosecutions of homicides, drug crimes and Medicaid fraud.

Ward helped with the administration of the politically sensitive Exculpatory Evidence Schedule, nicknamed the Laurie list, a database of police officers with credibility problems.

He also oversaw the Public Integrity Unit, which handles investigations and prosecutions of public officials.

The Public Integrity Unit is prosecuting complicated cases that involve decades of abuse at YDC, a state-run youth detention facility in Manchester.

The Public Integrity Unit lost its head when Timothy Sullivan resigned in November for a job in the private sector. He has been replaced by Dan Jimenez, a senior assistant attorney general.

The Union Leader has reported that the Public Integrity Unit investigated allegations of wrongdoing on the part of New Hampshire Safety Commissioner Robert Quinn but did not bring charges. Formella's office has refused to discuss the Quinn matter.

Ward was involved in several high-profile cases.

He worked with Concord police on the investigation of Wendy and Stephen Reid on a Concord walking trail in April. He obtained a first-degree murder conviction against Seth Mazzaglia for the 2012 strangulation of a 19-year-old UNH student. And he prosecuted former state Sen. Jeff Woodburn of Whitefield on domestic violence charges.

The Public Integrity Unit spent more than two years investigating Salem police, then issued a speeding violation against a sergeant and turned over federal prosecution of a captain on tax evasion charges.

In a statement, Young welcomed Ward's arrival in her office.

"(Ward) has routinely demonstrated his legal acumen and litigation skills over the course of his career as a state prosecutor," Young said.