By JULIET WILLIAMS and FENIT NIRAPPIL, Associated Press
Posted: 08/23/2014 10:57:42 AM PDT
Updated: 08/23/2014 11:17:57 AM PDT
SACRAMENTO — Democratic state Sen. Ben Hueso was arrested Friday on suspicion of drunken driving, the latest black eye for the state’s majority party and the 40-member chamber that suspended three other Democrats facing legal troubles.
Hueso, 44, of San Diego, was arrested at 2:39 a.m. and booked into Sacramento County Jail, said sheriff’s Sgt. Lisa Bowman, after the California Highway Patrol stopped him going the wrong way on a one-way street.
He was released shortly before noon after posting bail of nearly $1,500 and was expected to appear in court Tuesday.
“I think I have the right to pursue my innocence, and that’s what I’m going to do,” he told reporters, speaking softly, with a serious expression.
Hueso wore charcoal-gray slacks, a pink-and-white pinstriped dress shirt and black shoes as he walked from the jail to a waiting black van from the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms office. He said he would not discuss his whereabouts in the hours before the traffic stop or comment further “until this process is over.”
About 30 minutes later, Hueso’s office released a statement from the senator that seemed to contradict his comments to reporters as he left the jail: “I accept complete personal responsibility for my actions and any punishments that ultimately come my way as a result of this incident.”
Hueso’s July newsletter to constituents included a Highway Patrol safety tip that driving after drinking is a “critical mistake.”
His seat was vacant when the Senate reconvened Friday, a week before the legislative deadline. The end of the legislative session, when lawmakers pass hundreds of bills, is typically a festive time after hours, with parties and fundraisers at bars and restaurants.
Hueso was among the guests at a dinner hosted Thursday by the Latino Legislative Caucus at a restaurant in downtown Sacramento, but the event ended about 9 p.m., said Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the caucus.
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