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TRUTH TEST QUICK HIT: Kennedy on Stapleton DUI

4:58 PM, Oct 28, 2010   |    comments
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In this analysis, we'll look at a claim being made by State Treasurer Cary Kennedy (D-Colorado) against her opponent Walker Stapleton (R-Colorado).

QUOTE: "Walker Stapleton was a candidate for over a year saying nothing. But Walker Stapleton was finally forced to admit being arrested for a DUI, charged with a hit-and-run."

TRUTH: On June 20, 1999, Walker Stapleton was arrested for a DUI in San Francisco. Court documents show he was originally charged by prosecutors with both unlawfully driving under the influence and failing to stop immediately after the accident in which two pedestrians in a crosswalk were involved (Source: http://strongcolorado.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Walker-Stapleton-Court-Docs.pdf).

However, those same court documents show the latter charge of "hit-and-run" was never prosecuted. San Francisco police told The Denver Post there were no pedestrians involved in the accident and Stapleton said the charge was dropped because it wasn't accurate (Source: Denver Post, Oct. 27: http://www.denverpost.com/election2010/ci_16442768).

It's misleading to imply anything more than was adjudicated in the court system. He never went to trial on the hit and run charge.

The ad also makes the assertion that Stapleton was "forced" to admit this after being a candidate for more than a year. There is no evidence he had ever been asked about the incident or that there was any coercion before a debate hosted by KBDI-12 and CBS4Denver at the end of September when he was asked if he had ever been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or DUI offense. In response to the question, he answered: yes (Source: Denver Post, Sept. 30: http://blogs.denverpost.com/thespot/2010/09/30/stapleton-admits-to-dui-during-debate/15478/print/).

Stapleton's campaign blasted the Kennedy commercial.

"Forever tarring someone with having been 'charged' with a crime after the police admit they were in error in bringing the charges in the first place is not only false and misleading, but unethical," wrote Stapleton Campaign Manager Michael Fortney in an e-mail to 9NEWS. "The fact that Cary Kennedy's ad attempts to portray Walker Stapleton as having been charged with a crime when the police later determined that the charges shouldn't have been brought in the first place is a window into her character that should cause voters to contemplate whether they want someone in office who so easily compromises her own values in order to save her job."

Kennedy's campaign defended the ad.

"This ad calls into question the ethical choices Walker Stapleton has made," Kennedy Campaign Manager Serena Woods said in a news release announcing the launch of the commercial. "Coloradans need to be able to trust that the State Treasurer is honest and accountable. When it comes to Stapleton's criminal background, he has not been forthcoming."

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