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Fossella's Drunk-Driving Trial Delayed

Retiring Rep. Vito Fossella's (R-N.Y.) defense team believes he will be able to beat the rap on charges stemming from his drunk-driving arrest back in May, but it needs just a wee bit more time to prove their case.

Fossella's trial was scheduled to begin this morning in Alexandria General District Court, but the proceedings have been delayed until Oct. 17 as his lawyers seek more evidence that they hope will allow them to challenge the accuracy of the breathalyzer machines that showed their client well-above Virginia's legal limit.

The New York Times reports that Fossella attorney Barry Pollack had issued a subpoena to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science for information on the machines that were used to test Fossella. The GOP lawmaker failed a field sobriety test when he was pulled over in Alexandria the night of April 30 after a night out on the town in D.C. He blew over the legal limit in an initial breath test on the scene and then did it again on another machine at the police station.

Pollack has made clear for a while that challenging the alcohol test results would be central to his strategy. In June, he told The Sleuth: "We continue to believe that there is reason to question the results of the breathalyzer test," and that witnesses with Fossella that night "who know what he consumed and how he was acting have a very different view than the police."

Fossella's arrest touched off a descent into scandal that soon led to the end of the Staten Island lawmaker's congressional career. He was picked up at the police station that fateful evening by his alleged mistress, with whom, it was soon revealed, he had fathered a child. After heavy pressure from his fellow Republicans, Fossella announced May 20 that he would not run for reelection. His 13th district seat is now in serious danger of falling to Democrats.

By Ben Pershing  |  August 28, 2008; 12:16 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules , House  
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What an incredible tool! The guy was dumb enough to drive under the influence, then he was dumber to call his girl friend to bail him out of jail, now instead of going quietly he is challenging the accuracy of the machine. Why is this guy allowed to retire and not forced to resign? What benefits, if any, will taxpayers pay to this idiot who abused his postion of public trust?

Posted by: Jimbo | August 29, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

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