NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ A Rhode Island state lawmaker charged with drug possession and driving under the influence in Connecticut is expected to plead not guilty to the charges.

Jack O’Donnell, Rep. Robert Watson’s attorney, said he expects Watson to plead not guilty Thursday in New Haven Superior Court.

Watson, a Republican from East Greenwich, lost his job as Rhode Island’s House minority leader after his arrest in April in East Haven.

He has said that he would mount a strong defense.

East Haven police say the 50-year-old Watson had marijuana and cocaine in his system when he was pulled over at a drunken driving checkpoint.

Watson later said he had the marijuana to treat pain from pancreatitis, but didn’t smoke that day. He denied being drunk and using cocaine.

Watson is free on bail.


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