The judge overseeing Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot’s DWI case has ordered the Suffolk County district attorney’s office to investigate a claim by Ms. Kabot’s attorney that someone connected to the Westhampton Beach Village Police Department called her political rival, Anna Throne-Holst, on the night of Ms. Kabot’s arrest and told her, “We got her.”
The investigation, which was announced just this week, will target the Westhampton Beach Police Department, the agency that made the arrest on Main Street in Westhampton Beach during the early morning hours of Monday, September 7.
Riverhead Town Court Justice Allen Smith, who is presiding over Ms. Kabot’s DWI case that begins on Thursday, October 29, ordered that Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota “make inquiry of the personnel and agents of the Westhampton Beach Police Department as to any communications (telephone, e-mail, etc.) to any persons relative to the arrest of the Defendant during the evening of September 6, 2009, or the morning of September 7, 2009.” The defendant refers to Ms. Kabot.
Bill Keahon, Ms. Kabot’s DWI attorney, received a copy of the order via fax on Monday, October 26.
The investigation was prompted by an anonymous letter Ms. Kabot received on September 14 that stated, “[w]hile you were being field tested for sobriety, a call was placed to Anna by a ranking police officer who told her, ‘We got her.’” The “Anna” refers to Southampton Town Board member Anna Throne-Holst, the Democratic candidate who is challenging Ms. Kabot, a Republican, in the November 3 election for town supervisor.
The author of the letter, who only identified herself as a single mother living in Sag Harbor, said she received that information second-hand. Copies of the letter, which were dated September 10, were mailed to Southampton Town Hall and the supervisor’s private post office box and home address.
The allegations stated in the letter compromise judicial integrity, according to the court order.
Westhampton Beach Police Chief Ray Dean declined to comment on the order. He previously said that his officers made a lawful and appropriate arrest. The arresting officer was identified on the police report as officer Ryan Lucas. Officer Steve McManus was also at the scene at the time of Ms. Kabot’s arrest.
Bob Clifford, a spokesman for Mr. Spota, declined to comment Wednesday on Judge Smith’s order or the upcoming investigation.
Ms. Throne-Holst did not return a call seeking comment on Wednesday.
Ms. Kabot is due back in court today, October 29. Part of her defense will be based on several minutes of missing video taken after she was pulled over by officers. There will also be other hearings, according to Mr. Keahon.
Ms. Kabot was arrested at 12:25 a.m. on September 7 after two Westhampton Beach Police officers observed her car cross over the double yellow line as she made a left-hand turn onto Main Street from Sunset Avenue.
According to the police report, the arresting officer said that Ms. Kabot’s breath “smelled strongly of an alcoholic beverage,” and her eyes were “red and glassy.” The report also notes that she failed two field sobriety tests.
Ms. Kabot, who was attending a 40th birthday celebration at her sister’s home in East Moriches on Sunday, September 6, had two normal-sized glasses of wine over several hours before her arrest, but she was never intoxicated, Mr. Keahon previously said.
Ms. Kabot refused a breath test and other chemical tests that night because she felt “angry and intimidated” by the “overzealous nature” of the arresting officers, she said during an earlier interview.
Ms. Kabot’s driver’s license was suspended for a year by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles because she refused a breath test. A separate violation for refusing the breath test was dismissed by Judge Smith. Her license remains suspended and will not be lifted even if the court dismisses the DWI charge.