To The Daily Sun,

Here we are in 2020, and take a look at the leadership of our Belknap County delegation, made up of the 18 New Hampshire State Representatives from the county. The majority of the delegation chose as its leader a man who not only has been under investigation by the State Attorney General’s Office for perjury, but who also took the 5th Amendment recently in a case brought against him by the Town of Belmont (which resulted, despite his unwillingness to testify, in a court decision against him). The person in question is Rep. Michael Sylvia, of Belmont.

What kind of person asserts his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination? Someone who has a reasonable basis for believing that truthful answers to questions could subject him to criminal prosecution. So Rep. Sylvia apparently had reason to believe that the truth could result in a criminal prosecution against him. In view of the fact that the case brought by the Town of Belmont was a civil matter, one has to wonder what criminal prosecution he feared.

The Belmont case involved Mr. Sylvia’s non-compliance with zoning laws and his residence on property he owned without an operating septic system. The case had an Alice in Wonderland aspect to it, with Rep. Sylvia cross-examining the code enforcement officer about all the things the officer did not know about the property, in particular the portion of the property not visible from the road. And why didn’t the officer know more? Because Mr. Sylvia would not permit access to his property to have it inspected, and would not answer questions about it at his trial. What does this remind you of? The case involving the man who killed both of his parents and then threw himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan.

This same game is being played now at the national level, with President Trump asserting that the impeachment hearings lacked sufficient firsthand evidence. And why was that? Because the primary witnesses with firsthand knowledge were prohibited from testifying. By Donald Trump. What innocent person seeks to hide the truth? Someone who knows he is wrongly accused will do everything in his power to bring the truth to light, as it will exonerate him.

In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that the county delegation chose Rep. Sylvia to lead them before he had taken the 5th Amendment in court. Let’s see if the new situation changes their view of him, or whether, like the majority of the US Senate, our state representatives choose to ally themselves with a tainted leader rather than stand up for principle.

Ruth Larson


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