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A federal appeals court on Wednesday reversed the conviction and sentence of a former Republican National Committee official accused in a phone-jamming plot on Election Day 2002.

James Tobin, the former regional chairman of President Bush ‘s re-election campaign, w, , ) defeated then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen for the Senate that day.

But the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled that the statute under which Tobin was convicted "is not a close fit" for what Tobin did and questioned whether the government showed that Tobin intended to harass. A Justice Department spokesman said prosecutors were reviewing the decision, and did not say if they planned to appeal.

Messages seeking comment were left with Tobin and his attorneys.

At the time of the alleged phone jamming, Tobin was a regional official with the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, overseeing Senate campaigns in several states, including New Hampshire and Maine. He went on to serve as President Bush‘s New England re-election campaign chairman in 2004, but resigned after the phone-jamming allegations surfaced.

Tobin was convicted of putting the executive director of the state‘s Republican Party in touch with the head of a Virginia-based telemarketing firm, who hired another telemarketing firm to place the hundreds of hang-up calls. A co-owner of that firm at the time, Shaun Hansen, of Spokane, Wash., pleaded guilty in November to a conspiracy charge and to making the calls and awaits sentencing.


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