FOX 31′s Julie Hayden:
The Denver District Attorney’s Office has decided not to pursue charges against Colorado State Rep. Laura Bradford for allegedly possessing a firearm while intoxicated.
DA spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough told FOX31 Denver Monday afternoon that prosecutors looked at the “totality of the evidence” and determined they could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
DUI charges have also been ruled out…
It’s pretty simple–since Rep. Laura Bradford was never subjected to testing needed to prove in court she was legally drunk behind the wheel a week and a half ago when pulled over by Denver Police, she can’t be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. And since it would be necessary to establish that Rep. Bradford was intoxicated in order for her 9mm pistol in the car to be unlawful, there’s really no way to charge her with that, either.
In both cases, these are outcomes that would not have been but for the immunity legislators enjoy from misdemeanor arrest during the session. This immunity was foisted on an unwilling Rep. Bradford, as the story from Denver Police has been changed to say now. The original version of the story as told by the responding DPD supervisor, officially retracted but the investigation of which is not complete, is that Rep. Bradford slyly invoked it herself. We have not heard from that supervisor, Sgt. Benita Packard, to know anything more about her version of the story.
With DPD’s Internal Affairs division reportedly investigating, we doubt we will anytime soon.
Because there remain far more unknowns that knowns in this situation, House Speaker Frank McNulty, we’d say appropriately, convened an ethics committee to try to sort out what happened after a reported “lobbyist happy hour” at Prohibition, an East 17th Ave bar, on the night of January 25th. It’s possible there will be much revealed about the incident by this committee–perhaps who the lobbyists were, other legislators, and as Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Sentinel tantalizingly added this weekend, “even members of the media” who may have been present. We’ve also heard questions about Rep. Bradford’s actions immediately after police “lit up” her vehicle, and where she may have driven before coming to a stop.
The ethics committee also appears to be taking its time, which is good for Frank McNulty since Bradford has promised (as of last Friday anyway) to see the process through before doing anything, you know, crazy–like decapitating the House GOP leadership. That’s a considerable change from last Thursday, when her rhetoric was quite a bit more bellicose. If the committee formally clears her, then we’ll know if Bradford is genuinely angry at leadership for failing to stick by her, or if that was an affectation to gain leverage. If the committee finds something else incriminating? Perhaps the first indicator will be Rep. Bradford flying off the handle again…
Bottom line: things may settle down, but we wouldn’t “oh well” the case of Rep. Bradford’s traffic stop away like the Denver Players’ disappearing black book quite yet. The reason it’s not over is a Republican, out of personal spite or perhaps even good sense, is still asking questions.