The attorney representing Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV says video of his client taking sobriety tests proves that the uptown political scion is not guilty of drunk driving charges. "The video is the best evidence here," said lawyer Stacey Richman during closing arguments, according to the Post. "You tell me if he's swaying ... Look at the tape."
Though the officer who administered the test noted that Powell was "slurring" and "swaying," prosecutor Shawn McMahon told jurors the video isn't the most significant piece of evidence because the resolution is too low for viewers to notice important details, like whether or not Powell had watery eyes. Instead, the lawyer urged jurors to make their decision based on the testimony of the arresting officer, who says Powell was weaving in the center lane of the West Side Highway and tapping his brakes in March 2008. According to another Post article, it wasn't Powell's braking or swerving that caught the attention of Officer Donald Schneider—it was the fact he was driving at the 50-mile-per hour speed limit. "So the fact that Mr. Powell was observing the law was a concern for you?" Powell's attorney asked during cross examination. "More of a confusion," said the cop.
Prosecutors blasted Powell for immediately showing the arresting officer his Assembly ID card—"the proverbial 'get out of jail free card.'" The attorney added: "I don't have to prove to you that the defendant was Amy Winehouse, or Mick Jagger that night. All I have to prove to you is he was incapable of operating a vehicle to a substantial extent." Jurors are deliberating today on charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and driving while impaired, which carry maximums of one-year and 15 days behind bars, respectively. A judge ruled that jurors will not hear evidence about how Powell blew a .07 on a breathalyzer test (the legal limit is .08). Officers contest that score, arguing that Powell only gave a partial breath.