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Ex-Rep. Fossella Changes Mind, Pleads Guilty to DWI

Then-Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) exits the Alexandria General Court after his sentencing for drunk driving in Alexandria, Va., Dec. 8, 2008. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin).

Former congressman Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) was expected to fight his drunk driving conviction today in court in Alexandria, Va. Instead, in a stunning about-face, he pleaded guilty and will begin serving a five-day jail sentence this weekend.

Fossella was shaken by the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, who was killed by a drunk driver last week, according to Fossella's lawyers.

"Mr. Fossella has always taken his responsibilities seriously and the tragic accident involving Mr. Adenhart only further highlights the dangers of drinking and driving," Fossella defense attorney Barry Pollack tells the Sleuth. "Under the circumstances, Mr. Fossella decided that the best thing to do was to accept responsibility for having driven after having had something to drink, and to put this incident behind him."

Fossella's legal team had planned to fight his conviction today, arguing that the blood alcohol test that was administered to him the night he was arrested last May was faulty. But they realized they didn't have the evidence needed to convince a jury.

"While we had questions about the accuracy of the breathalyzer machine results, we have been unable to obtain from the manufacturer of the machine the source code that would allow us to establish whether or not the machine was working properly," Pollack told us. He added, "Mr. Fossella has acknowledged from day one that he made a serious error in driving after he had had something to drink."

According to New York Daily News reporter James Gordon Meek, who was in the courtroom this morning, prosecutors said Fossella could serve his time on weekends. Here's what Meek reports:

When one of Fossella's three lawyers asked him if he'd mind beginning his sentence Friday night, he waved his hand with disgust and muttered, "Fine."

Fossella's arrest on drunk driving charges in the wee hours of May 1 unraveled the secret of his mistress, Laura Fay, and their young daughter. Fossella, a married Christian conservative who has three other children with his wife, was forced to retire.

But with his surprise admission in court today and his recent public appearances around New York, we won't be surprised if Fossella tries to make a political comeback as a crusader against drunk driving.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  April 13, 2009; 12:16 PM ET
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A gopper who will not contest the facts. Really? So, this column states it took a death for this gop to accept his responsibility? Because he always takes his responsibilities seriously. Seriously?

Posted by: tck1 | April 14, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

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