A Rhode Island Assistant U.S. Attorney was charged today with driving under the influence, after initially being accused of a lesser violation, the Warwick Police Department announced Friday. Read The Associated Press report here.
The DUI charge comes after a drumbeat of local news reports in recent days suggested the federal prosecutor had received lenient treatment because of his job. “I think we’ve got a public confidence problem right now, and we’ve got to deal with it,” Warwick, R.I., Police Chief Stephen McCartney told the local ABC television affiliate.
On Thanksgiving, Gerard B. Sullivan was pulled over after two motorists contacted police about the driver of a BMW — identified as Sullivan — who they said was driving erratically. Sullivan was charged with failing to take a breathalyzer test, but he was not initially charged with driving under the influence.
The police report said Sullivan informed the officers of his prosecutorial job numerous times, told the officers he knew the police chief and asked if there was “anything he could do.”
Of the five people in Warwick, R.I., who were charged with refusing to take a breath test over the long holiday weekend, Sullivan was the only one also not charged with the more serious parallel offense, driving under the influence. The prosecutor claimed he didn’t attempt to use his position to avoid the DUI charge, which is more serious than the breath-test violation.
The local Rhode Island ABC affiliate also reported that Sullivan was arrested Nov. 1 about 12:30 a.m. in Myrtle Beach, S.C., outside the Senor Frog’s, a restaurant and bar. The TV station said there is no police report of the incident, but that Sullivan paid a $150 fine.
Here is a local Rhode Island TV news report about Sullivan:
UPDATE: Sullivan earlier today pleaded not guilty to his DUI charge, The AP reports. He was released after promising to appear at his Dec. 15 hearing.
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