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Former state senator says politics involved in drunk driving charge


FOND du LAC, Wis (WSAU) One of two Wisconsin senators who were recalled last summer said politics played a role in his drunk driving arrest about two months later. Republican Randy Hopper made the claim to a jury yesterday, in the first day of a two-day trial in Fond du Lac.

He was driving home from the Packers’-Saint Louis game on October 16th when people in the vehicle behind him saw him weaving on Highway 151 north of Fond du Lac. Sheriff’s deputy Nick Venne gave him a field sobriety test as a city officer looked on – and Hopper said he felt Venne was quote, “out to get me.”

Hopper said a lot of Fond du Lac County employees who never met him sent him quote, “some of the most vile messages you have ever seen” because he supported the limits on public union bargaining – limits that exempted law enforcement. Venne testified that he signed a recall petition against Hopper – but he said the former senator smelled of alcohol and showed signs of intoxication when he was stopped.

The defense said Hopper had three-and-a-half beers at the Packer game he saw. Jail staffers gave a preliminary breath test with a blood alcohol level of point-13, but that’s not admissible during his trial. The defense criticized Venne for not giving Hopper a blood test to get a more solid number. Fond du Lac County Sheriff Mick Fink said it was “bizarre” to think his officers were out to get Hopper. He said deputies gave protection to Hopper after the backlash on the union bill.