The scene from Rep. Vito Fossella’s DWI trial today in Alexandria:
A dark-suited, glum-faced Fossella, flanked by his three attorneys, sat staring into nothingness as Judge Becky Moore ruled against the defense's motion to suppress evidence in pre-trial proceedings.
In the pre-trial arguments, the defense questioned the reasonableness of the arresting officer's field sobriety tests, arguing that the alphabet test the officer gave Fossella was unreasonably challenging because it started at the letter "D" as opposed to the letter "A."
The arresting officer testified that Fossella skipped the letters "G" and "M."
The defense also argued that Fossella did enough to "pass," by keeping his leg in the air, during the one-legged stand test, for 20 seconds, even though he swayed during it and needed to put his arms out to maintain balance.
The officer testified that he could smell alcohol coming from Fossella's car and that his lips looked to be stained from red wine.
At the time of the arrest, Fossella had admitted to having had a couple of glasses of wine a few hours before getting in his car.
At the start of today's proceedings, both the prosecution and the defense requested that still photographs and videos of the trial be banned. As one of Fossella's attorneys put it, "This is not an ordinary traffic matter." The judge agreed to the request.
Outside the red-bricked courthouse on King Street, television cameras are on stake-out. The courtroom is fairly crowded. The morning's other traffic violations have been moved to another judge's courtroom.