Former Southampton supe not guilty of DWI

 | A smiling Linda Kabot fields questions from reporters alongside her lawyer.
TIM GANNON PHOTO | A smiling Linda Kabot fields questions from reporters alongside her lawyer.

Former Southampton supervisor Linda Kabot was acquitted of DWI charges in a Riverhead courtroom Friday.

She was also found innocent of refusing to submit to a pre-screen breath test and failure to maintain lane. Jurors did, however, find her guilty of running a stop sign, which is a traffic violation.

“As you can see, there are tears in my eyes and I certainly am joyful and a bit overwhelmed,” Ms. Kabot said to reporters as she left court.

Asked if she was surprised by the quick verdict, the former supervisor said, “I’ve never been in the criminal justice system before so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

“I’m thankful for finally having the matter behind me.”

She wouldn’t comment on her political future or if she thought her arrest was a setup.

Read the Feb. 10 News-Review for full story.

Coverage before the verdict Friday:

The driving while intoxicated case against former Southampton supervisor Linda Kabot is now in the hands of the jurors, as her defense attorney and the prosecution wrapped up their closing  arguments Friday morning.

Ms. Kabot was arrested just after midnight on Labor Day, Sept. 7,  2010 and charged with DWI in Westhampton Beach Village.

The arrest was videotaped by police and shown in court, as well as distributed to the media. Both sides claim that tape proves their argument.

Defense attorney William Keahon said the tape does not show Ms. Kabot slurring her speech or being unsteady afoot, not does it indicate she swerved on Sunset Avenue and ran a stop sign turning onto Main Street, where she was eventually pulled over.

Mr. Keahon argues that there was a conspiracy to get Mr. Kabot, who was unpopular with the town Police Benevolent Association and had supported a proposal that would have required some long term officers to retire.

She said one of the arresting officers, Officer Steven McManus, was a delegate to the Suffolk County Police Conference, and that Officer  
McManus testified that he also made a cell phone call to Mr. Aube shortly after the arrest.

Mr. Aube also admitted calling Anna Throne-Holst, who was Ms. Kabot’s opponent in last fall’s election, shortly after the arrest. Ms. Kabot lost her reelection bid to Ms. Throne-Holst, two months after the arrest.

But assistant district attorney Anthony Baron said the video clearly shows that Ms. Kabot made seven driving errors while she was on tape, including crossing over the double yellow line, making a rolling stop at a stop sign, and failure to heed to some pedestrians crossing the street.

Mr. Baron also said Ms. Kabot rambles on the tape and failed to successfully executive several field sobriety tests in the tape.

He said the issues Mr. Keahon brings up about a conspriracy are just intended as distractions from the real issue, which was whether Ms. Kabot was driving drunk.

Riverhead Town Justice Allen Smith is presiding over the case since all Westhampton Beach Village judges recused themselves, citing conflicts.

The jury is scheduled to return to court at 2 p.m. Friday.