Charges dropped against vaccine opponent arrested for disorderly conduct 

By JAMIE L. COSTA

Monitor staff

Published: 06-29-2023 7:16 PM

Supporters of outspoken anti-vaccine activist Terese Bastarache, one of nine people arrested in 2021 at an Executive Council meeting, gathered in the entryway of the Concord District Court Tuesday morning as she announced all charges against her had been dropped.

Bastarache, 49, of Loudon, was facing four counts of disorderly conduct, all misdemeanors, stemming from an October 2021 incident when she uttered “amen” at one point during a feisty Executive Council meeting where she, alongside dozens of others, came to oppose an additional $27 million in federal funding to expand COVID-19 vaccinations throughout the state. The previous meeting to consider the funding was canceled after the crowd became rowdy and state officials said they worried for their safety.

Eight others were arrested at the October meeting on similar charges and are in the process of being tried or have been tried already. Members of the group, which calls themselves the Noble 9, were present on Tuesday to support Bastarache.

In celebrating her small victory, Bastarache called for Sununu’s removal from office and vowed to con tinue her fight for freedom by running for Executive Council and filing both a class action lawsuit and a civil case against Gov. Chris Sununu.

“This is bigger than my case; this is about corruption and the violation of our constitutional rights,” she said to her supporters. “I want to be the voice of the people in Concord and I will continue to fight the fight until I don’t have blood in my veins.”

On the eve of Bastarache’s trial, a motion was made by the Attorney General’s Office to prevent Governor Chris Sununu from testifying as a witness to Bastarache’s arrest.

“The defendant does not have any compelling justification for why the Governor’s testimony is necessary in this case, nor can the defendant establish that Governor Sununu’s testimony is essential to prevent injustice or prejudice or that no other official or person could testify about the information the defendant seeks,” the motion read.

As part of Bastarache’s defense, attorney William Gens was going to question Sununu, who chairs the Executive Council meetings, on how Bastarache disrupted the meeting. Though Sununu didn’t verbally order state troopers to detain her, he nodded at them and made hand gestures that indicated permission, Bastarache said.

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Judge Ryan C. Cuptill agreed that Sununu did not need to testify, concluding that Bastarache failed to provide sufficient notice of the subpoena, which was served less than two business days before the trial; it improperly sought testimony from a high-ranking government official; and Sununu’s testimony would not be vital or material to the case.

Prosecutor James Shepard declined to comment on why the charges were dropped.

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