- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 23, 2022

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband pleaded guilty Tuesday to driving under the influence and was sentenced to five days in jail and three years of probation.

The court’s method of calculating jail time, however, allowed Paul Pelosi to avoid any more time in the clink for the misdemeanor conviction stemming from a car crash in Napa Valley wine country.

Mr. Pelosi, a millionaire real estate investor, served two days in jail and got good behavior credit for another two days. As part of the plea deal, he is scheduled to serve eight hours in the court’s work program instead of spending the remaining day behind bars, said Napa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Solga.

Shortly after the sentencing, authorities released the police dashcam video of Mr. Pelosi’s interaction with the California Highway Patrol after he crashed his Porsche into another vehicle.

In the video, Mr. Pelosi can be heard mumbling as he tells a police officer that he had a “glass of champagne before dinner” and also “a glass of white.” 

The video also shows Mr. Pelosi struggling through a field sobriety test.

Mr. Pelosi pleaded not guilty at an Aug. 3 court hearing but switched the plea Tuesday as part of a deal.

His attorney entered the guilty plea at the hearing, which Mr. Pelosi did not attend. California law allows for DUI misdemeanor defendants to appear through their attorneys unless ordered otherwise by the court.

Mr. Pelosi, 82, has to attend a three-month drinking driver class. He also is required to install an ignition interlock device, which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking alcohol. He also has to pay $7,000 in fines.

Mr. Pelosi was arrested in Napa County on May 28. A DUI test showed he had a blood alcohol content of .082%, just over the legal limit. 

It was his first DUI. Mrs. Pelosi was not with him.

Americans’ reactions to Mr. Pelosi’s sentencing largely split between those who thought he got off easy because of his wealth and political connections and those who said he bravely owned up to his mistake.

On Twitter, those in the latter category often threw in criticism of former President Donald Trump.

Paul Pelosi broke the law and I am glad he got Justice served. Now do Trump,” tweeted a user with the Twitter handle Exploding Trumppopotamus Singh, MD, a self-described Biden-Harris supporter.

Jonna Spilbor, a criminal defense lawyer, said there were no signs of preferential treatment.

“I’ve handled thousands of DUI cases in my day, and this case was entirely run of the mill but for one thing, and that is the defendant himself,” Ms. Spilbor said on Fox News. “He is not an average citizen. He is not an average Joe.”

She said she is surprised Mr. Pelosi pleaded guilty instead of no contest. “If he wanted to save himself the potential of not having to admit wrongdoing, no contest would have been the way to go,” she said.

Mr. Pelosi was arrested after officers responded to a crash involving the multimillionaire and the driver of an SUV.

Officers found Mr. Pelosi in the driver’s seat of a 2021 Porsche Carrera, police said. The other driver involved in the crash was standing outside a Jeep.

A few days later, the driver of the Jeep reported pain in his upper right arm, right shoulder and neck that began the day after the crash. 

California Highway Patrol officers reported that Mr. Pelosi was “unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred, and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage.”

Officers said they “observed objective signs and symptoms of alcohol intoxication.”

Mr. Pelosi handed officers his driver’s license and an “11-99 Foundation” card when they asked for his ID, according to documents. The 11-99 Foundation supports California Highway Patrol employees and their families.

Prosecutors filed the case as a misdemeanor because of injuries to the 48-year-old driver of the SUV.

Mr. Pelosi was released on $5,000 bail after his arrest.

Mrs. Pelosi’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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