NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – A Rhode Island state lawmaker charged with drug possession and DUI in Connecticut has pleaded not guilty.

The Providence Journal reports that Rep. Robert A. Watson pleaded not guilty Tuesday in New Haven Superior Court. As he left the courtroom, he said he will fight the charges.

Watson lost his job as Rhode Island’s House minority leader after his April 22 arrest in East Haven.

Police say Watson had marijuana and cocaine in his system when he was pulled over at a sobriety checkpoint. A laboratory test showed Watson’s blood-alcohol level was slightly below the state’s limit.

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

His next court date is Nov. 15.

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


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