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R.I. minority leader denies DUI charge

April 25, 2011 at 1:02 PM

EAST HAVEN, Conn., April 25 (UPI) -- Rhode Island House Minority Leader Robert Watson has denied driving under the influence of marijuana after being arrested last week in Connecticut.

Watson was arrested in East Haven, Conn., Friday night after he was stopped at a sobriety checkpoint but was cleared when 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 Monday.

Watson, a Republican, said in a statement he was in Connecticut to help a friend move and was returning home when he was stopped at a sobriety checkpoint conducted by local police for all traffic.

"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," Watson said in his statement.

"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," Watson said. "At the proper time I look forward to the opportunity to explain and comment further."

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