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Quickest Comeuppance Ever: Republican Rhode Island Lawmaker Faces Drug Charges

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer
April 25, 2011 at 3:19 pm



It’s rare that hypocrite politicians find their comeuppance this quickly. But, in this curious case, it took Rhode Island State Representative Robert Watson just two short months to go from offensive loudmouth to common criminal. And we have a routine police checkpoint to thank for this bout of Schadenfreude.

Rep. Watson in February drew the collective ire of immigrant advocacy groups, gay advocacy groups and marijuana advocacy groups in one fell swoop when he questioned the priorities of his Rhode Island legislative body: “I suppose if you’re a gay man from Guatemala who gambles and smokes pot, you probably think we’re on to some good ideas here,” he said at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce luncheon. You can listen to the audio of his remarks in this local Fox report:

Gay Guatemalan pot smokers must be rejoicing following the news that Rep. Watson is now facing drug charges after police stopped him at a routine sobriety checkpoint in East Haven, Connecticut, on Friday. According to the police report, authorities at the checkpoint found “trace evidence” of marijuana and a pipe in Watson’s pocket. Police then charged the Rhode Island House Minority Leader with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence. He was released on $500 bond.

Rep. Watson denies the DUI charge, and “a breath test administered at a police station indicated he had a blood alcohol level of less than 0.08 percent, the legal limit, The Providence (R.I.) Journal reported.”

Watson issued this statement following the arrest: “While confident I was a safe and sober operator, trace evidence of marijuana was discovered and I was charged with operating under the influence, a charge I vehemently deny. A subsequent breathalyzer test at the station showed that I was well below the legal limit of .08. I was processed and released within an hour…”Because of the position I hold within the community as an elected official and as an attorney, I recognize that my personal issue will have to be dealt with publicly and in the court of public opinion. At the proper time I look forward to the opportunity to explain and comment further.”

It’s actually refreshing that Watson either didn’t use the “Do you people know who the f&#k I am?” line of defense to the police, or that he did and the police didn’t care.

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