Apex coucilman-elect appears in court on DWI charges

December 6, 2011 4:11:12 AM PST
An apex councilman set to take office Tuesday says he's innocent of DWI. Scott Lassiter was in court Monday trying to prove it.

Lassiter won his Apex Town Council seat overwhelmingly last month. He's 24-years-old and, by most accounts, he's a young politician with a promising future

It's a case that has small-town Apex talking.

"Drinking and driving is a huge serious issue," said Apex resident Cara McCarthy. "So I wouldn't want my public official to do that."

"You hold someone who's running for beauty queen ... they have to have an impeccable past," said Apex resident Lauren Su. "I would think someone who's running for town council should as well."

Lassiter was pulled over by a state trooper on Feb. 13. He was arrested after he refused to take a blood alcohol test. He's charged with DWI and failure to maintain lane control.

In an email, Lassiter told ABC11 that he was innocent. He wrote, ""I know I am not guilty. My savior the lord Jesus Christ knows this and I'm confident the court will soon find in my favor."

Lassiter is facing a misdemeanor, not a felony. So, he's still allowed to take office. But with the case still unsettled, some suggest Lassiter should step aside.

Apex Mayor Pro-Tem Bryan Gossage told ABC 11 in a statement, "the standard in Apex should be that if a councilmember or member-elect is convicted of a crime, in this case DUI, they should resign their seat (or, where they've not yet been sworn-in they should forego taking that seat)."

A budding politician awaits his fate in the criminal court and the court of public opinion.

"The voters knew that he'd been arrested and he won and we're all fallible," said Apex business owner Jessica Lamarre. "I don't know if he did anything or not, but nobody's perfect."

The judge issued a continuance late Monday afternoon which postpones a decision in the case.

The town of apex swears in its new town council Tuesday and Lassiter says he'll be there to assume his post.

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