Pittsburgh mayoral candidate A.J. Richardson waives hearing on DUI charge

Pittsburgh mayoral candidate A.J. Richardson waived a preliminary hearing this morning on charges of driving under the influence.

"This is a minor bump in the road," Mr. Richardson, 36, said, adding that he planned to continue his campaign for the Democratic nomination for mayor in the May 21 primary.

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last week, Mr. Richardson said he planned to plead guilty to the charges, which also include driving without valid registration.

Asked today whether that's still the case, Mr. Richardson said "I don't want to comment on that" and that he's deferring all legal questions to his attorney, Cory Ricci.

"We're still looking at all our options," said Mr. Ricci, who wore a Richardson campaign button. "He does intend to take responsibility for this. But we're not sure exactly what we intend to do."

Mr. Ricci said his client is seeking a diversionary program. A formal arraignment is scheduled for May 29.

"I'm a leader, I made a mistake, and I acknowledge that ..." Mr. Richardson said. " ... Most leaders don't even take accountability for their own errors. I did that, and that says something, and that's the type of leadership we need in the next mayor, and that's the type of leadership that's in A.J. Richardson."

Police said Mr. Richardson failed several roadside sobriety tests, referenced his run for mayor and told officers who arrested him April 3 in the West End Circle that they "should have some back bone and be a voice for the black people," among other remarks, according to a criminal complaint.

"Those comments they said that I made, I did not make," Mr. Richardson said this morning. "Those are ugly comments and it does not reflect or represent A.J. Richardson."

Hours after his arrest, before addressing a crowd gathered at the University of Pittsburgh for a mayoral debate, Mr. Richardson told the Post-Gazette, "I had some drinks, a few drinks. I'm not going to get into the semantics of sobriety levels."

He said then that he planned to plead guilty because "I think it's the honorable thing to do," but that shouldn't disqualify someone from becoming mayor because "It shows that he's human."

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Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede. First Published April 10, 2013 2:15 PM


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