RI Lawmaker Pleads Not Guilty To East Haven Drug Charge

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – A Rhode Island state lawmaker has pleaded not guilty to drug possession and driving under the influence in Connecticut.

Rep. Robert Watson, a Republican from East Greenwich, entered his pleas Thursday in New Haven Superior Court.

Watson lost his job as Rhode Island’s House minority leader after his arrest in April in 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.

On Thursday, he said he “unequivocally” denies using cocaine.

Watson is free on bail.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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