Lawyer for Obama's uncle questions cop's driving
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) — The defense for President Barack Obama's uncle is reviewing the driving records of the police officer who arrested him on drunken driving charges.
Onyango Obama, an illegal immigrant, appeared briefly in Framingham District Court on Thursday as his lawyer told a judge he has obtained the driving history of the officer who stopped Obama in August in Framingham.
Officer Val Krishtal said in a written police report that he stopped Obama after Obama did not come to a complete stop at a stop sign, causing his police cruiser to nearly strike Obama's SUV. Krishtal said Obama failed several field sobriety tests and registered 0.14 on a blood-alcohol test, higher than the state's legal limit of 0.08.
Obama's attorney, P. Scott Bratton, said he is reviewing Krishtal's driving records to see whether Krishtal has a history of accidents. Bratton has said previously that Obama was not committing any traffic violations and police had no right to pull him over. He is seeking to suppress the traffic stop and the results of the blood-alcohol test. A judge will hear arguments on those motions on March 1.
"We want to review the record to see if there is a pattern of conduct of bad driving behavior on the part of the arresting officer," Bratton said.
Krishtal totaled his police cruiser in November while responding to reports of gunshots.
Framingham police declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said prosecutors were not opposed to turning over the records. Bratton said a lawyer for the town of Framingham provided the records.
Obama, 67, who is originally from Kenya, is the half brother of the president's late father. He has pleaded not guilty to operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to yield the right of way.
Police said that after being booked at the police station, Obama said, "I think I will call the White House" when asked if he wanted to make a telephone call to arrange for bail.
The status of Obama's immigration case could not immediately be determined. A spokeswoman for the Executive Office for Immigration Review did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.
Obama initially was held without bail on a detainer from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on allegations he violated an order to return to Kenya 20 years ago. He was later released and has been ordered to regularly check in with immigration officials.
The White House has said it expects Obama's arrest to be handled like any other case.