Wiretap conspiracy added to Nashua duo’s list of alleged crimes
Police discovered the audio recording, which they believe features a witness in prior case involving Bellino. Officers contend the recording was made without permission of the witness.
Madison is charged with one count of wiretapping, a Class B felony, for allegedly recording a conversation at a local motel room between Feb. 1 and April 21, 2017, according to court documents.
Bellino is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wiretapping, also a Class B felony, for allegedly agreeing with Madison to record the conversation, and for “participating in a conversation with (the witness) about a case in which she was a defendant … .”
Police booked Madison and Bellino late Monday and jailed them overnight, pending their arraignments, which were held Tuesday in Nashua district court. Bail for each of them was set at $5,000 cash or surety, and they are ordered to have no contact with the witness. Both are scheduled for probable cause hearings at 8:15 a.m. June 5 in the Nashua court.
The case referred to in the charging documents involves the second-degree assault charge that accuses Bellino of injuring the 3-year-old child, who police said is not related to her, by allegedly “rubbing and striking the child’s face on a cement basement floor” in June 2016.
She was arrested about three weeks later, after an investigation which included saw police speak with the witness who Madison and Bellino allegedly recorded several months later.
Police in their reports state that the second-degree assault charge was dropped on June 1, 2017, the result of a plea agreement Bellino and her lawyer, Attorney Ryan Guptill, reached with the prosecutor, Assistant County Attorney Katie Broderick.
Police said the agreement included a provision that Guptill turn over to Broderick a “recorded statement,” which Broderick told police at the time “contained a recantment from one of the witnesses in the case,” police said in their reports.
Roughly two months after the plea agreement took place, several high-ranking Nashua police detectives met with Broderick and First Assistant County Attorney Kent Smith, according to the reports.
The purpose of the meeting was to “discuss several cases that were recently disposed of in Hillsborough County Superior Court South,” police said. Except for Bellino’s case, their reports don’t identify any of those cases.
It was during that meeting that police learned of the recording, their reports state. Lt. Kerry Baxter “expressed her concern with the legitimacy of the recording,” and asked Broderick for a copy that police could review, according to the reports.
Police subsequently launched the investigation that would lead to Monday’s arrests of Bellino and
Several weeks into the investigation, police said, a detective was able to locate the witness who was allegedly recorded. In an interview, he allegedly told police that he “was very upset to hear that Bellino did not get into any trouble for hurting the 3-year-old … ,” referring to the dismissal of the second-degree assault charge.
When the detective told the witness about the recording, police said, he said “he had absolutely no idea he was being recorded,” and was “agitated to hear he was (allegedly) recorded while speaking with Bellino and Madison.”
The witness added that he “did not give anyone permission to record his private conversation … ,” police said.
He also “became very frustrated” when he was told “the recording was used to prevent Bellino from being held responsible for hurting” the child, according to the reports.
Madison and Bellino, in their post-arrest interviews with police, both said they told the witness that Madison was going to record their conversation, the reports state.
Meanwhile, the new charges against Madison and Bellino come about three and a half months after they were arrested for allegedly selling heroin to an undercover police informant.
They were also charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor, because the alleged heroin sale took place in close proximity to a child.
According to Bellino’s court file, she currently has two cases pending in Superior Court, one of which is on a charge of second-degree assault – an indication that prosecutors refiled the charge that was dropped in the plea agreement last year.
The other case involves the alleged drug sales and endangering a child
Final hearings and tentative trial dates have been set in both cases, according to Bellino’s file.
In the assault case, a trial management conference is scheduled for Sept. 20, with jury selection to begin Oct. 1. Trial is estimated to last three days.
In the other case, the trial management conference is set for Nov. 2, and jury selection for Nov. 13, followed by an estimated two-day trial.
A suppression hearing has been scheduled for July 1 in that case.
Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Telegraph_DeanS.