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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose ‘Pepe’ Diaz sat in the defendant’s chair as prosecutors laid out their DUI case against him.
Diaz was arrested back in September 2015, charged with driving under the influence while coming back from Key West. The commissioner plead not guilty to the charge.
“The officers look and see a motorcycle speeding toward them at what appeared to be 70 miles per hour in a 30 mile zone,” said Prosecutor Nick Trovato on Tuesday.
Officers pulled over Diaz for speeding on September 19th, when he stopped, the motorcycle he was riding fell as he failed to put the kickstand down, prompting officers to start a DUI investigation.
Police body cameras caught the moments at 3100 North Roosevelt Boulevard. Diaz, 55, was coming back from an annual motorcycle event.
Police said Diaz was speeding and appeared drunk, but the commissioner refused to take a breath test, failed the “walk and turn test,” swayed while balancing on one foot and missed his nose several times on “finger to nose test. ”
His lawyer said Diaz was speeding but not intoxicated. He told the jury Diaz had a rum and coke and a glass of champagne earlier in the day.
“But where the decision will be made and the line drawn is the allegation that because he consumed alcohol, his normal and physical faculties were impaired by that alcohol,” said Defense Attorney Chris Lyons.
On Tuesday, jury saw video tape of his traffic stop as he left the event at the Casa Marina hotel. The officers who stopped him testified that he failed several field sobriety tests. They said Diaz had slurred speech, couldn’t keep his balance or control his motorcycle. They are all things his attorney promises to address as he gets his day in court.
“On the side of the road, Saturday night, three cops in your face, heart racing and his health issues, he did pretty well,” said Lyons.
And that physical condition he spoke of, Lyons said, “He tells them from the marines, 30 years, I was injured and since then have an equilibrium problem and I’m actually wearing a magnetic balance bracelet.”
Following the arrest, Diaz issued a public apology in county hall, saying the matter was something he would deal with personally.
“This has nothing to do with my elected position. This is a personal matter that happened on my personal time,” said Diaz back in October 2015.
If convicted, he could face up to six months in jail.