Abdula Jamal Richardson, who is running an underdog campaign for Pittsburgh mayor, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with driving under the influence. Police say they found Richardson slumped over the wheel of a green minivan, whose engine was still running, around 3 a.m. A criminal complaint reported that he became “verbally hostile” stating that he was going to be mayor and refused a blood test on the scene.
On Wednesday afternoon while leaving the Municipal Courts Building, Richardson denied the allegations telling reporters, “This is a weak, feeble attempt to discredit me as a strong candidate for the mayoral election, this is all it is.”
He also denied being drunk, saying allegations that he was passed out were a “total lie”.
Hours later, at a mayoral candidate debate inside Pitt’s O’Hara Student Center, Richardson admitted that he had been drinking and shouldn’t have been behind the wheel. He then excused himself to spend time in prayer with his family.
When asked why he was apologizing after earlier claiming it was a targeted attack, Richardson said that he still believed it was an attack, but that he admits to being wrong.
A.J. Richardson, who is running as a Democrat in the May primary, lists his current occupation as a school bus monitor. When asked if he thought someone who had been charged with a DUI could still run for mayor, Richardson winked and said, “Wait and see, I’m still running”. Online court records don’t list an attorney for Richardson, who faces an April 10th preliminary hearing.
A woman hung up the phone when the Associated Press called a number listed for Richardson on a campaign-related website. An e-mail message came back as undeliverable.