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Freeman Files for State Senate, Wants Ankle Monitor Removed

Ian Freeman, a libertarian activist currently facing dozens of federal felony charges related to his alleged Bitcoin money laundering, is now running for state Senate in New Hampshire.

The race for the District 10 Senate seat is wide open since incumbent Democrat Jay Kahn announced he is not seeking reelection. Freeman said he intends to serve his term in office even if he gets convicted in the money laundering case.

“I know one cannot run for office in New Hampshire when serving a felony sentence. But I don’t know what the law is regarding being convicted or sentenced while in office,” Freeman said. “Presuming it’s allowed, and they don’t remove me automatically, I would not step down, as having no senator in District 10 is preferable to one who votes against liberty as Jay Kahn often did.”

Cheshire County Republican Committee Chair Richard Merkt has not been in contact with Freeman but said the libertarian activist and former member of the Free State Project has every right to run for office.

“He’s a libertarian, but he’s registered as a Republican,” Merkt said.

There will be other Republicans who file for the seat in the coming days, according to Merkt, and Freeman is unlikely to have an open shot at the nomination.

“I want the GOP to provide a credible alternative to the Democrats,” Merkt said.

Freeman said given the current ballot access laws in New Hampshire, is it easier for him to run as a Republican than a libertarian.

“As you may know, New Hampshire’s ballot access laws make it difficult to run as a third party. Running as a libertarian would cost many hours of gathering 700 valid signatures – probably gotta shoot for 1,500 as they will try to disqualify them – whereas running for New Hampshire Senate as a major party is only $10,” Freeman said. “If the parties ever make ballot access equal for smaller parties, then perhaps fewer libertarians will run under the majors’ labels. I understand some in those parties are frustrated by the infiltration of libertarians, but they did it to themselves by keeping third parties off the ballot.”

Freeman’s run under the GOP banner is reminiscent of Aria DiMezzo’s campaign for Cheshire County Sheriff in 2020. Identifying as a trans and Satanic anarchist, DiMezzo was the only Republican in the race. DiMezzo lost the election and is currently one of Freeman’s co-defendants in the money laundering case.

“I can’t read their minds, I couldn’t tell you what their intentions are,” Merkt said.

Freeman is currently trying to get the federal court to remove the electronic ankle monitor he is required to wear pending trial. A hearing on that motion is set for later this month. The government is objecting to the removal, claiming Freeman has already violated his conditions of release.

According to the prosecution’s motion, Freeman used his girlfriend, Bonnie Kruse, to attempt to access more than $160,000 he has deposited in a Blockchain account. Freeman was ordered not to access any of his digital currency accounts as part of his conditions of release. He was also ordered not to have a third party access the money for him.

The government also suggested Freeman has been underreporting his holdings, and may have millions of dollars in currency, digital and otherwise, secreted away. Freeman has been ordered to not discuss his case. His attorney, Mark Sisti, declined to comment on the allegations.

“There’ll be plenty of comment when the time is right,” Sisti said.

Freeman and DiMezzo are facing dozens of criminal charges for allegedly taking in millions of dollars through their Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin ATMs. They also used personal bank accounts and accounts for alleged made-up churches like the Shire Free Church, the Crypto Church of NH, the Church of the Invisible Hand, and the Reformed Satanic Church, in order to conduct their bitcoin businesses, according to the charges. They allegedly lied to banks in opening their accounts and got others to open accounts on their behalf, according to court records. Part of the operation for Freeman was to help cyber criminals swindle money from lonely victims, according to the indictments.

Freeman and DiMezzo were arrested last year along with four other suspects, all of whom have pleaded guilty or had their charges dropped.

Renee Spinella, 25, her husband Andrew Spinella, 36, and Nobody, formerly known as Rich Paul, 54, all took plea deals that will bring them minimal prison time. Andrew Spinella, in fact, will not serve any time behind bars. Prosecutors also dropped the indictment against Colleen Fordham, 62.

Freeman, DiMezzo, and Nobody are all part of the Free Keene collective, an offshoot of the Free State Project. The Free State Project made a show of kicking Freeman out of the movement in 2014 after he repeatedly advocated for lowering the age of consent. The Free State Project is an initiative to concentrate libertarians in a small state and have an oversized effect on state governance. Freeman is also an advocate of seceding from the United States.

Pro-Life Republican Lovett Running as Democrat in District 8 Senate Race

What do you call a Democrat who’s voted in favor of a 20-week abortion ban, supported allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit, and tried to pass restrictions to stop college students from voting?

Claremont’s Charlene Lovett.

A former Republican state representative who also once served as mayor of Claremont, Lovett has launched a bid for the District 8 Senate seat as a Democrat. Lovett said she changed her party registration this year because she’s become disenchanted with the GOP over the years.

“The party that I grew up in and have been part of for many decades isn’t the party of today. I feel like the party left me behind,” Lovett said.

Lovett now describes herself as a moderate Democrat as she seeks to unseat Sen. Ruth Ward, R-Stoddard.

While in the House in 2012, Lovett had a solidly pro-life voting record: she voted for bans on partial-birth and late-term abortion, as well as a 20-week abortion ban, and a 24-hour waiting period for abortion. She also supported giving legal protection to the unborn who were injured or killed when their mother was assaulted.

Lovett also opposed requiring health insurance to cover contraception.

On ballot access issues, Lovett supported a photo ID mandate. She also supported tightening the rules on residency for voting in a way that would block out-of-state college students from voting in New Hampshire. Most of her (now) fellow Democrats opposed these measures.

Lovett cast conservative votes on a range of issues. She supported tax credits for businesses that donate to private school scholarships and opposed legalizing medical marijuana. She was against refugee resettlements in New Hampshire, and she supported a state lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.

Ward said she has run into Lovett a few times over the years but does not know her well.

“I have not checked her voting records. It will be very interesting to do some research,” Ward said. “Anyone can run, and I will do my best against whoever is my opponent.”

Asked about her decidedly un-moderate voting record, Lovett said she’s changed her mind on many of her former positions.

“Over time, I’ve changed my positions, and that’s been caused by working with people from all walks of life and learning more about the challenges people face in their lives,” she said.

NHJournal reached out to state Democratic leaders to ask about having a candidate with such a pro-Republican record running to represent their party, particularly in a community like Claremont that backed progressive Bernie Sanders in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential primaries.

District 8 also includes Acworth, Antrim, Bennington, Charlestown, Croydon, Deering, Dunbarton, Francestown, Gilsum, Langdon, Lempster, Marlow, Newport, Stoddard, Sunapee, Unity, Washington, Weare and Windsor.

Progressives have been upset with the party establishment for years, as the younger left wing of the party continues to get ignored by the old guard. Two progressives Democrats abandoned the House caucus to become independents during the current session, and a third quit the House entirely.

And leaders of the New Hampshire Democratic Latino Caucus resigned in opposition to the embrace of what they call “racist” immigration policies by Hassan and fellow Democrat incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas. They’ve held public protests as well.

While Lovett may have become a Democrat, she’s no progressive. If she’s able to win her new party’s nomination without a fight, it could be yet another indicator that state party chairman Ray Buckley’s strategy is for New Hampshire Democrats to tack hard to the right as the midterms approach.

It’s not working, according to RNC Spokesman Andrew Mahaleris.

“Whether it’s Maggie Hassan endorsing a border wall, Chris Pappas supporting Title 42, or Charlene Lovett finally revealing her true colors as a Democrat, it’s clear that Ray Buckley and the rest of his party know they are in trouble. While these pandering politicians are claiming to support commonsense policies to get elected, Granite State voters know where their true priorities lie and will defeat them in November,” Mahaleris said.

In addition to her time as a state rep, Lovett has served on the Claremont School Board, City Council, and as the mayor. Her service has not been without controversy.

In 2019, Claremont City Manager Ryan McNutt blamed Lovett for his firing, and for creating a difficult environment in city hall.

“She is one of the most difficult people I’ve worked with,” McNutt said at the time. “She is not someone who understood her role.”

McNutt said Lovett was constantly trying to attain more power as mayor. Claremont is chartered with a weak mayor’s position, giving day-to-day responsibility to the city manager.

“There was a desire for more control,” McNutt said.

That same year, City Councilor Jon Stone accused Lovett of interfering with a police investigation during the 2016 shooting of Claremont man Cody LaFont by city police. Lovett said at the time that she would welcome an investigation into this accusation, though none was pursued.