Disgraced former Rep. Vito Fossella has abandoned his appeal of last year’s drunk-driving conviction in a Virginia court and will likely begin a five-day sentence behind bars this weekend.
Fossella fought for months to stay out of jail after last year’s drunk-driving arrest and conviction in suburban Virginia. The former Bay Ridge Republican withdrew his appeal on Tuesday when he entered a guilty plea.
Fossella’s lawyer said the change of heart came as a result of the attention generated by the recent death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, killed by a drunk driver on April 9.
“There was a lot of publicity about Nick Adenhart,” Fossella’s attorney Jerry Phillips told the Daily News. “It placed his case in an atmosphere where a lot of emotion was involved.”
Drunk-driving convictions in Virginia carry a mandatory five day sentence, but Fossella has “credit for one-day served,” the News reported.
Fossella’s plunge from star congressman to convict began after an afternoon and evening of drinking in a Washington, D.C. bar last May. The former one time rising star then got in a car and was pulled over by cops in the Virginia suburbs after driving erratically.
The arresting officer said Fossella was so drunk that he could not recite the alphabet and that his blood alcohol level was 0.17.
But that wasn’t all; the arrest led to the revelation that Fossella not only had a mistress, but that he had a daughter with her.
Fossella was convicted in December and ordered to spend five days in the slammer, but the case was on appeal until Monday morning’s reversal.
Fossella’s seat in the House of Representatives is now occupied by Mike McMahon, a Democrat.
©2009 Community News Group
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