Obama Uncle Seeks Police Officer's Driving Record

Published January 11, 2012 9:36PM (EST)

BOSTON (AP) — A lawyer for President Barack Obama's uncle, an illegal immigrant who is charged with drunken driving, said Wednesday that he will ask prosecutors to turn over the driving record of the police officer who stopped him.

Onyango Obama, 67, the half brother of the president's late father, was charged with drunken driving in Framingham in August.

In a written police report, Officer Val Krishtal said he stopped Obama after Obama rolled through a stop sign and nearly caused his police cruiser to strike Obama's SUV. Krishtal said Obama failed several sobriety tests and blew a reading of 0.14 percent on a blood-alcohol test, which is above the state's legal driving limit of 0.08 percent.

Police said that after being booked at the police station, Obama was asked whether he wanted to make a telephone call to arrange for bail. "I think I will call the White House," he stated, according to the police report.

Defense attorney P. Scott Bratton, citing a car crash Krishtal had in November, said he plans to ask prosecutors in court Thursday to turn over the portions of Krishtal's personnel file that mention any internal affairs investigation into Krishtal's on-duty driving record.

Krishtal was injured Nov. 22 when he lost control of his police cruiser and crashed into a stone wall while responding to reports of gunshots.

Framingham police declined to comment Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said prosecutors are not opposed to turning over records related to any crashes Krishtal was involved in while on duty. She declined to comment before Thursday's hearing on any police internal affairs reports related to Krishtal's driving record.

Obama's lawyer said earlier that he plans to challenge the traffic stop that led to his client's arrest. Bratton maintains that Obama was not committing any motor vehicle violation at the time so police did not have the right to stop him.

Obama, who is originally from Kenya, has pleaded not guilty to operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to yield the right of way.

The president refers in his memoir "Dreams from My Father" to an Uncle Omar, who matches Onyango Obama's background and has the same date of birth.

Obama initially was held without bail on a detainer from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on allegations he violated an order to return to Kenya 20 years ago. He was later released and has been ordered to regularly check in with immigration officials.

The White House has said it expects Obama's arrest to be handled like any other case.

Onyango Obama is the brother of Zeituni Onyango, the president's aunt, who lives in Boston. Zeituni Onyango came to the United States from Kenya in 2000 and was denied asylum by an immigration judge in 2004. She stayed in the country illegally and was granted asylum in 2010 by a judge who found she could be a target in Kenya.

By Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------