FRAMINGHAM -- Onyango Obama, the uncle of President Obama, had his drunken driving case continued without a finding today for one year during a brief hearing in Framingham District Court. He also had his driver’s license suspended for 45 days, but his attorney said he would apply for a hardship license.
In earlier court proceedings in the Middlesex County court, Onyango Obama and his attorney, P. Scott Bratton, had criticized the arrest by police, and also the driving record of the arresting officer, Officer Val Krishtal.
Bratton said today in court that Onyango Obama should be treated like other first offenders facing a misdemeanor drunken driving charge and be allowed to have the case removed from his record if he avoids being arrested over the next year.
“This has been a very difficult time for him,’’ Bratton said of his client. He also told Judge Douglas Stoddart that Obama does not have any criminal convictions, was unlikely to reoffend, and had arrived in the US from Kenya in 1963 to attend high school and college.
A Middlesex assistant district attorney summarized the arrest by Framingham police and asked for a guilty conviction with one year of probation.
The judge allowed the Kenyan native, who is the half-brother of the president’s late father, to admit to facts sufficient for a finding of guilty to the operating under the influence charge. Onyango Obama was found not responsible for a failure to yield citation.
Obama’s driver’s license was suspended for 45 days, but Bratton later told reporters his client will ask the Registry of Motor Vehicles to issue him a hardship license so he can continue to work at the Framingham liquor store where he has worked for several years. As part of the disposition, Obama was ordered to participate in an alcohol education program and pay court fees of $350.
After the brief hearing, Bratton told reporters that Obama now has a temporary work permit and plans to appeal a deportation order lodged against him some 20 years ago. Bratton said today that he believed Obama would be back before the immigration court sometime in May to fight the deportation. Bratton predicted the misdemeanor would have “little, if any, impact on his immigration status.”
Bratton was asked if he or his client or if anyone acting on Onyango Obama’s behalf had contacted the White House or President Obama. “Absolutely not,’’ Bratton said.
Obama was silent except when asked questions by Stoddart as part of the plea process. He declined to comment to reporters.
“He feels good to have it behind him,’’ Bratton told reporters. “It was upsetting to him that he received so much attention.’’
Obama, 67, was pulled over by Krishtal in August after Obama rolled through a stop sign as he turned onto Waverly Street. Obama made the turn so quickly that Krishtal, who was driving on Waverly, nearly collided with him, according to a Framingham police report.
“I was no more than 30 feet from the rear of this vehicle, and it required [my] quickly applying my brakes to avoid striking it,” Krishtal wrote.
Krishtal said he had Obama take a chemical breath test when he noticed that Obama’s eyes were bloodshot and his speech slurred.
Obama, who lives in Framingham, was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol after the test showed his blood-alcohol level to be 0.14 percent, according to the police report.