We reported how the D.A. in Napa County has finally made the decision to charge Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). He was charged with driving under the influence causing injury and driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or over.
The DA is charging those two as misdemeanors. They note that’s based on the injury and is consistent with the way they normally charge things. Yes, that’s normal that they judge by the seriousness of the injury. So either that’s an indication that a) there was an injury, but it wasn’t serious or b) there’s a more serious injury and he’s getting a break. Now one of the problems, in this case, has been that they haven’t been releasing all the information. There hasn’t been a police report released of the accident and the arrest. Prior news reports had not indicated any injury; now we’re suddenly told “injury.” So what’s the nature of the injury? We don’t know.
His blood alcohol level wasn’t tested until more than two hours after he was arrested at 12:32 a.m. The crash was at 10:17 p.m. So, if it was still that high at .082 at that time, imagine what it was at the time of the accident.
The punishment for misdemeanor DUI includes “up to five years of probation, a minimum of five days in jail, installation of an ignition interlock device, fines and fees, completion of a court ordered drinking driver class, and other terms as appropriate,” according to the district attorney.
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He’s scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 3.
The California Highway Patrol has denied requests for the body cam and other information, claiming that the D.A. said it would “jeopardize the investigation.” Meanwhile, the D.A. said in their press release announcing the charges that they can’t release anything because they’re bound by the California Rules of Professional Conduct.
I like when they talk in that statement above about the victim in this case — the man who was hit by Pelosi in the 2014 jeep that he has invoked his rights not to be harassed and they ask the media to respect his wishes. I’m sure he might not want to be bothered. But it also happens to help Paul Pelosi, when you can’t find out what happened and you can’t talk to the victim about it.
But TMZ is reporting information that hasn’t been released:
The CHP officers who responded say Pelosi had “objective signs and symptoms of alcohol intoxication” … such as watery eyes, slurred speech and a “strong odor” of alcohol on his breath. They say he also showed signs of impairment after field sobriety testing.
Interestingly, they also note Pelosi handed officers his “11-99 Foundation” card when they asked him for ID. The foundation provides financial assistance and scholarships to CHP officers and their families.
That’s a subtle hint to “give me a break.”
Police also note the victim reported pain in his arm, shoulder and neck, had trouble lifting things … and was seeking medical care from his doctor.
Trouble lifting things could be a serious thing or it could be something like a broken collar bone based on the description. But because they’re not officially telling us, we’re left to speculate.
Fox’s Jesse Watters let loose on “Paulie P” (as he terms him) on his show after the charges were announced, talking about a New York Times story that had more revelations.
Turns out that Paul Pelosi had recently had cataract surgery. Probably not the best defense here.
It may not have been only alcohol that hindered Paul Pelosi’s driving. Two people who have spoken with the Pelosis since the crash said that Paul Pelosi had had cataract surgery in the days preceding the dinner. (Doctors are somewhat divided about when it is acceptable to drive, with estimates that range from 24 hours to two weeks.)
The speaker swung into crisis mode. By Sunday afternoon, Larry Kamer, a crisis manager who has a home in Napa and has worked for high-profile clients including Harvard University and Nike, was retained. The family also consulted with John Keker, one of San Francisco’s most prominent defense lawyers, and Lee Houskeeper, a longtime public relations executive for San Francisco political types, including former Mayor Willie Brown.
The newly assembled team had to deal with a few unwelcome certainties: The accident would refocus attention on Paul Pelosi’s troubled driving record, including a crash when he was a teenager that left his brother dead. It would also send reporters — from TMZ to The Napa Valley Register — scrambling after every detail.
The Times also notes another time Paul, Nancy, and their kids were in the car in the 70s when the car flipped. “No one was hurt, and Nancy Pelosi hitched a ride to go meet donors. The Pelosi camp declined to comment to The New York Times on who was driving.”
As Watters noted, the Times says there was a witness to the crash, and sympathy for Paul Pelosi in the area.
Among the powerful political and social figures who inhabit the Pelosis’ world, there was abundant sympathy and some protectiveness after what happened over Memorial Day weekend.
A person who witnessed the accident said both cars were totaled, and that Paul Pelosi simply sat in the car, seemingly frozen, for several minutes, until the sheriff and members of the Fire Department arrived moments later. [….]
And some local residents suggested that, in an earlier era in Napa, driving after drinking was met with understanding, rather than criminal charges.
“I feel just awful about what’s happened because there was a time when if a thing like this happened, the cops would take you home,” said society doyenne Diane Wilsey, better known as Dede.
Yeah, no, he could have killed someone. Where did the witness come from on the side of the road? Watters speculates the person was in the car. We don’t know that. But again, this is the problem you get when you don’t release the information, so we can get an accurate record of the facts. Watters said the police refused to confirm or deny that there was anyone in the car with him. Watters explains that the sheriff who had arrived on the scene said he knew the answer as to whether there was anyone in the car but he couldn’t tell them. Watters noted that his team had also asked the local firefighters who arrived on the scene if they had any information on the accident as well. He also said if the D.A. doesn’t give up the information, they’ll be taking them to court to get it.
Whew. We weren’t kidding when we said there were a lot of questions here to be answered.