In 2008, police accused state Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV of drunk driving when he was spotted driving erratically on the West Side Highway. But after two years—and multiple delays—his trial still hasn't begun, raising questions about whether his case has been adjourned repeatedly because of his political clout as the son of a famed Harlem lawmaker. "It certainly has all of the bells and whistles of 'Hmm,'" defense lawyer Mark Cohen told the Times. "I would think that the typical client who is not attending to, quote unquote, state business does not get the courtesy to put his sink in or perhaps go to a trade show."
Unlike most people accused of driving under the influence, the Assemblyman—who was twice accused of sexual assault in 2004—says he wants his case to go to trial. He has turned down a plea deal that would have given him a $300 fine, a 90-day license suspension, and enrollment in a drunk-driving program. His lawyer insists he wants the case to proceed in court, but due to Powell's busy schedule including special legislative sessions and a 10-day overseas business trip, the politician has missed multiple court dates.
The trial has also been delayed due to a dispute over the exchange of evidence and scheduling conflicts involving defense lawyers and witnesses. If found guilty of the misdemeanor charges, it's doubtful that Powell will receive any jail time and equally unlikely that he would get booted from office. Powell's lawyer says the politician doesn't want to delay the case—in fact, he wants to wrap it up. "It's not a situation where there's any type of avoidance," said attorney Stacey Richmond. "This ongoing situation is more of an inconvenience to him." The next scheduled court date is Monday, but the trial probably won't begin then because one of the police officers involved in the case is busy.