Strafford County Sheriff Mark Brave is facing his arraignment on eight felony charges this week with confidence and determination.
But with no legal counsel.
Brave, on leave from his job since he was charged with allegedly stealing $19,000 in taxpayer money to fund his secret love life, still has no attorneys representing him. But he hopes to close the sale on his $1.1 million four-bedroom Dover home in time to pay lawyers.
“I plan to rehire Shaheen and Gordon on Friday, following the final closing on the sale of my house,” Brave told Foster’s Daily Democrat. “I have a call into them and am hoping they will represent me on Thursday, and I can settle up with them on Friday after the sale has been finalized and I have funds wired.”
As of late Tuesday afternoon, court records showed no lawyers had entered an appearance to represent Brave.
Attorneys with the politically well-connected Shaheen and Gordon law firm represented Brave earlier this year while the state attorney general and local police were investigating Brave’s behavior. But that relationship seemed to have taken a break before New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella charged him.
Brave’s case was preemptively moved to the Rockingham Superior Court to avoid any potential conflict of interest in the Strafford Superior Court. Brave’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
The home Brave shared with his wife, Jamie Brave, is listed for sale with a $1,150,000 price tag. Real estate websites indicate a sale is pending. Records on file with the Strafford County Registry of Deeds showed Brave and his wife are not married at this time. Janie Brave goes by her maiden name, Jamie Spencer, in the records.
Brave is accused of using county money for travel to Florida, Maryland, and Boston to spend time with different women. At one point, when Brave was confronted with video evidence that he used taxpayer funds for a romantic weekend with one woman in Boston, Brave was unable to recall her name, according to court records.
“Her name is … um … Let me see, I forget which one this is. I’ve been dating a lot of people,” Brave testified before the grand jury.
Brave is accused of stealing the money and lying to the grand jury. He is charged with eight felonies, including theft, perjury, and falsifying evidence, and could be sentenced to up to 64 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
County officials contacted the attorney general this spring when irregularities with Brave’s spending were discovered. Brave has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, blaming the accusations on political bullying from the county commissioners.
Like Brave, all three elected commissioners, George Maglaras, Robert Watson, and Deanna Rollo, are Democrats. At one point, Brave accused Maglaras of racism. Brave told the Rochester Voice that Maglaras called him “the token Black guy, and the token’s gonna be up soon.”
Brave is New Hampshire’s first Black elected sheriff, taking office in 2020 on promises of police reform. However, The Boston Globe reported this month Brave misrepresented his education credentials and law enforcement experience when he ran for office.
Brave claimed to have completed a master’s degree in forensic psychology, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) in forensic psychology. However, The Globe found Brave did not earn any of those degrees and that he was never even enrolled in SNHU’s forensic psychology program.