The Napa County Sheriff released a mugshot of Paul Pelosi on Tuesday, following his DUI arrest in late May, as the Napa County District Attorney’s Office fended off allegations that Pelosi’s charges had been dropped.
Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) got into a car accident in Oakville on May 28th. According to a California Highway Patrol (CHP) press release, his Porsche struck a Jeep at the intersection of State Route 29 and Walnut Lane a little after 10 P.M. Although neither of the drivers was injured, and the Jeep driver was not arrested, Pelosi was tested for driving under the influence. The CHP, with Napa County DA confirmation, found that Pelosi’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level was at or above .08, above the legal limit.
Pelosi, who was alone with Speaker Pelosi in Rhode Island to give a commencement address at Brown University, was then booked early Sunday morning with bail being set at $5,000. The bail was subsequently paid, with Pelosi leaving the County jail at around 7:30 A.M. Pelosi then agreed on an August 3rd Court date at the Napa County Superior Court.
While the incident was quickly rotated out of the news cycle, a comment by Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) last week, responding to a then-unknown false report that the charges had been dropped, brought the story back to the public’s attention.
“Paul Pelosi’s DUI charges have been dropped,” tweeted Boebert on June 8th. “Is anyone really surprised?”
Paul Pelosi's DUI charges have been dropped.
Is anyone really surprised?
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) June 8, 2022
The unexpected tweet forced the Napa County DA’s office and the CHP to release further info about the case and make statements that Pelosi was still under investigation. Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley clarified that the incident is still under review and that her office would be the one making the announcement.
“The Napa County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing charges stemming from the DUI arrest of Paul Pelosi,” DA Haley said in a statement. “The California Highway Patrol arrested Mr. Pelosi for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Driving with a .08% Blood Alcohol Content or Higher. He was booked into the Napa County Department of Corrections and cite released.”
“Mr. Pelosi agreed to a court date of August 3, 2022, at 8:30 am in Napa County Superior Court. If criminal charges are filed, Mr. Pelosi would be arraigned at that time. The case is currently under review to decide what, if any, charges will be filed against Mr. Pelosi. This is standard protocol for any DUI case that is referred by a law enforcement agency in Napa County.”
“No decision has been made at this time. Any speculation to the contrary is incorrect. When a filing decision is made by the Napa County District Attorney, the media and public will be notified.”
Public pressure on the CHP, Napa County DA’s office returns
However, with public pressure returning, the CHP soon released Pelosi’s mugshot while also refusing to release other materials around the incident such as transcripts and bodycam footage due to it still being an active investigation.
“The Napa County District Attorney’s Office has advised the release of records would jeopardize an ongoing investigation. As such, records are being withheld pursuant to Government Code section 6254 (f),” explained the CHP earlier this week.”
With public interest in the case now back less than 2 months before Pelosi’s hearing in early August, many have noted that the increased interest may only put more pressure on state and local officials over the case.
“A lot of people are worried that he might be let off or just get a slap on the wrist due to influence from his wife or because of his age,” Luisa Vargas, a researcher who studies drunk driving incidents involving public figures, explained to the Globe on Tuesday. “We see celebrities and athletes and politicians get seemingly lighter sentences all the time, and with that rumor last week that all charges would be dropped, you know, people were angry.”
“Eyes are now back on the case much quicker than usual in these types of cases, so if there is any political pressure to do something about it, everyone around the case is probably walking on eggshells now. We’ve seen from celebrity trials like on O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson and Mel Gibson and so many others that the police are questioned, the DA’s office is questioned, and sometimes every step of the case is put up to debate in the court. From all these press releases, you can tell they don’t want a media circus around a standard DUI case.”
“That’s why they are being diplomatic about it at the same time they are letting the public know exactly where they are and quashing these rumors that are coming up. They don’t want the court of public opinion to decide right now, especially with things like fault, what his exact BAC was, the circumstances of the accident, and other details still not being known. We have to wait for them to do their jobs, which can be frustrating.”
“But, no matter the outcome, this will be a big story in the next few months, as no matter what is ruled, it will come out right when election season is hitting the next gear, so this will definitely be a future problem the Nancy Pelosi and many Democratic candidates and incumbents relying on her for support and donations and such.”
More details around the case are expected soon.