10 Politicians Arrested For Drugs In 2013 | The Fix
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10 Politicians Arrested For Drugs In 2013

2013 isn't all about Rob Ford, crack and Toronto. The USA has plenty of its own drug and alcohol fueled politicians. Here are 10 cases from this year showing that our own politicians aren't above the law either. 

  • Sam Coleman

    A Democratic council candidate earlier this year in New York’s capital city of Albany, Coleman was busted with six other people in a massive crack cocaine drug sting earlier this month. Police busted into an apartment containing Coleman and four other suspects, where they found crack cocaine cooking on a stove top and 31 pounds of cocaine with a street value of at least $50,000. The five men scattered into a downstairs basement, but were quickly found by cops. Coleman is currently being held without bail in Albany County Jail and has been charged with first and third-degree possession of a criminal substance; the former charge carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. The politician, who also has a 2003 drug conviction and 2011 drug arrest to his name, also served as a member of the Albany Community Police Advisory Board. "I knew he had these issues in his past, but you hope people can get over them, and I thought he had," said Councilman Dominick Calsolaro. "I'm very sorry to hear about this. He was a very active member in the community, went to all the meetings, did a lot of things. I can't imagine him doing any of this while he was running, because he was so active."

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  • Kelsey Cooper

    The spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Kentucky, Cooper was suspended for two weeks last July after a DUI arrest; she was charged with DUI in September and the case is still pending. Police reports claim she stopped her car in the middle of a street in the town of Frankfort to ask cops for directions. When the officers noticed that she was unsteady on her feet and crying, Cooper told them she had consumed three drinks at a nearby bar. However, she failed multiple field sobriety tests and had a blood alcohol level of .184, more than double the legal limit for driving. "She obviously made a mistake and she knows that," said state GOP chairman Steve Robertson. “I hope she learns a valuable lesson from this. She has been an important part of our team.”

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  • Scot Kelsh

    Be careful what you wish for. A North Dakota Democrat who voted for stricter drunk driving laws in the state earlier this year was arrested for DUI last November. Even more ironically, the lawmaker from Fargo is the first politician to be subject to the tougher laws he helped put into effect last July. Because this is Kelsh’s first offense, he will face $750 in fines and court fees for the Class B misdemeanor, as well a license suspension ranging from 91-180 days. It remains to be seen if the DUI will have any impact on his political career; Kelsh is up for re-election next year on the office position he has held since 1996.

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  • Ted Vick

    In what might be the least plausible excuse ever made to get out of a DUI, South Carolina state Rep. Ted Vick claimed he had “a rock in his shoe” after receiving his second drunk driving charge of 2013 last May (the first charge was ultimately dropped). A Bureau of Protective Services officer spotted Vick “staggering side to side” and “struggling to maintain his balance” around the House of Representatives parking garage before hopping into his car and trying to drive away. He was arrested for suspected DUI after the officer saw him “having trouble driving a straight line” and noting “a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” emitting from Vick before he refused breath tests. Both Vick and his defense attorney, Todd Rutherford, insist that he only had two glasses of wine and was sober enough to drive. “The way he walks does not dictate the way you drive. And he only saw him driving 20 feet,” said Rutherford. “Ted was not intoxicated. He was not drunk. He was not impaired.”

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  • Kristin Davis

    A former madam and NYC Comptroller candidate earlier this year, Davis was arrested on charges of selling prescription drugs. She reportedly sold hundreds of prescription drugs including Xanax and Adderall in exchange for Ecstasy and money from a drug dealer wearing a wire. The drug deals took place from the beginning of 2009 to the fall of 2011, when she was also running for governor. Her dealer was eventually arrested last December and agreed to begin tape recording his conversations as part of his guilty plea. If convicted on the charges, she faces up to 80 years in prison. "Prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in this country, resulting in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “This office has a zero tolerance policy towards anyone who helps to spread this plague at any level.” Davis was running for Comptroller on a platform of legalizing and taxing marijuana as a way to help fix gaps in the city budget.

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  • Robert Kerns

    A former GOP chief in Pennsylvania was hit with a slew of charges last month that included drugging a female employee and raping her while she was unconscious. Robert Kerns, the former chairman of Montgomery County’s Republican Party, was described by a county grand jury as a “manipulative and predatory” rapist after the 19 charges against him were read out that also included sexual assault, tampering with evidence, and lying to authorities. A report of the incident claims that Kerns offered the unidentified woman a ride home, gave her wine laced with Ambien, and then raped her in his car before assaulting her at his home. Forensic testing confirmed that DNA on her underwear matched Kerns’ and that she also tested positive for Ambien in her urine. Kerns, who resigned as GOP committee chairman last month, denies all the charges against him; he is free and awaiting trial after posting a portion of his $1 million bail.

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  • Barry Layne Moore

    The mayor of Hampton, FL was arrested last month for sales and possession of oxycodone and is currently in jail in lieu of $45,000 bail. This is hardly the first time that Moore has found himself in hot water with the law, though. In October 2012, he was arrested and charged with battery, and two months later he was booked with a probation violation for the same crime. In 2005, he was arrested but not charged with battery, and in 2011 he had three moving traffic violations with fines totaling $1,000. After his most recent arrest, Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith made a not-so-subtle reference to infamous mayor Rob Ford by declaring that “this isn’t Toronto. We will not tolerate illegal drug activity in my jurisdiction by anyone, including our elected officials.” Local officials have called for Moore to step down from office, but like Ford, he has shown no indication that he plans on doing so.

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  • Gordon Jenkins

    Jenkins, the mayor of the New York town of Monticello, was filmed going on a racist rant at the local police station after his DWI arrest. Jenkins was arrested on Nov. 16 and charged with DWI, refusing a Breathalyzer, obstruction of justice and criminal mischief. In the first minute of the surveillance video recorded at Monticello police headquarters, Jenkins refers to a white police officer as “cracker,” “honky” and “peckerwood.” He also told a police officer not to refer to him as the mayor, but to “call me ni**er because that’s what I am when I’m here in handcuffs. They say you are the Klan. I believe it now. I believe all the fucking ni**ers and what they be talking about, about you.” Although he has since pleaded not guilty to the charges, Jenkins’ license has been suspended. His rap sheet also includes pleading guilty in 2010 to selling knockoff sneakers from a store he owns and an arrest last year for hitting a police officer.

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  • Steve Katz

    The New York state assemblyman who spoke out against a bill to legalize medical marijuana was charged with marijuana possession last March. Katz was pulled over for speeding and ultimately turned over a bag of weed when the cop noticed the pungent odor coming from his car. The drug charge also adds to his DUI arrest in 2000 and two arrests decades ago related to his veterinary business. Katz tried to downplay the weed business by calling it “an unfortunate incident” and declared "I will not let this incident impede my public service and my calls for real mandate relief, a better economic climate and better services for those in need in New York. This should not overshadow the work I have done over the years for the public and my constituency." His challenger in the Republican primary, Dario Gristina, called on Katz to step down from office afterwards. "This is not the behavior you would expect from an elected official, especially from a conservative county like ours," said Gristina, "We have enough kids abusing drugs, and the last thing we need is for our elected representative being caught handing marijuana over to a police officer."

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  • Trey Radel

    In what was easily the biggest U.S, politician drug scandal of 2013, U.S. Rep. Radel pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor cocaine possession after buying drugs during an undercover sting. The Tea Party favorite bought 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover officer last October in Washington, D.C. Radel could have received 180 days in jail, but a judge instead sentenced him to a year of probation that will result in the guilty plea being removed from his record if he successfully completes it. The Florida politician also pledged to donate his salary after announcing he was taking a leave of absence until the end of the year and entering rehab. “I have no excuse for what I have done. I have let down our country,” he said. “[I] grew up with a mom who struggled with alcoholism. I don’t want my son to struggle with that.” The charges against him were particularly ironic because he had taken public policy stances that included asking welfare recipients to pass a drug test to make them eligible for food stamps. Like Ford and Moore, Radel has given no indication that he will step down, even though his fellow Republicans have started to call for his resignation.

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By McCarton Ackerman 12/15/13

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