FRAMINGHAM - President Obama’s uncle was back in court yesterday as his lawyer declared that he intends to challenge the legality of the traffic stop that resulted in his arrest on a drunken driving charge.
P. Scott Bratton, the lawyer representing Onyango Obama, said in an interview that he would file a motion “saying the police had no reason to stop him.’’ A hearing on the motion to suppress was scheduled for Jan. 12 in Framingham District Court.
A somber-faced Obama, a half-brother of the president’s father, sat silently during the brief hearing. Several people in the packed courtroom could be heard whispering excitedly about the presidential relative in their midst. A young man seated behind Obama, 67, quietly chanted, “Free Obama, free Obama.’’
Obama, a Framingham resident, was arrested by Framingham police Aug. 24 on charges of operating under the influence of alcohol, failure to yield, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. A breathalyzer test taken at the police station showed Obama’s blood-alcohol level to be 0.14 percent, according to a report filed by the Framingham Police Department.
Bratton said that if he can prove that Obama’s arrest was illegal, any evidence police gathered after he was stopped, such as the breathalyzer test or statements made by Obama, would be inadmissible in court.
The Framingham police report said Obama was stopped because he did not fully stop at a stop sign and failed to yield to traffic. Bratton declined to specify why he feels the police did not have grounds to stop him.
Bratton said that if the case goes to court he intends to challenge the breathalyzer findings. He has requested the police department’s maintenance records of the testing equipment as well as the record of Obama’s test result.
Obama, who was born in Kenya, faces other issues in immigration court. For reasons that are unclear, Obama was ordered deported in 1992 but has remained in the country. Bratton said that Obama’s immigration lawyer, also named Scott Bratton, has obtained a temporary stay of deportation and will appear before immigration officials next month to explain why Obama should be allowed to remain in the United States. Immigration officials have declined to comment on the status of his case, citing privacy laws.
Obama has been given a work permit enabling him to remain on his job as a night manager at Conti Liquors in Framingham. Obama, according to P. Scott Bratton, has worked there full time for 10 years.
Obama came to the United States in 1963 and attended private school in Cambridge while living with his older brother, the president’s father, for one year until his brother returned to Kenya.
He has lived in the United States for 50 years and, according to Bratton, has never married or had children.