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Police testify at hearing in Kabot DWI case

Linda Kabot stands outside a Riverhead court. (July

Linda Kabot stands outside a Riverhead court. (July 13, 2010) Photo Credit: James Carbone

A Village of Westhampton Beach police officer said to a village police sergeant, "Look who we've got," shortly after former Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot was arrested on drunken driving charges last Labor Day weekend, the sergeant testified Monday.

But, contrary to the assertions of Kabot's defense attorney, Officer Steven McManus did not use the phrase, "We got her," Sgt. Nicholas Fusco said.

The testimony, on the final day of a contentious pretrial hearing in Riverhead Town Court, came as defense attorney William Keahon of Hauppauge tried to show police conspired to arrest Kabot last year. Village and town police have denied this.

Riverhead Town Justice Allen Smith scheduled jury selection in Kabot's trial to begin Oct. 21.

Kabot, 42, of Quogue, has pleaded not guilty to driving while intoxicated. The Republican's arrest is widely viewed as contributing to her loss last November to Democrat Anna Throne-Holst.

Westhampton Beach police said they arrested Kabot after she refused to take a breath-alcohol test.

The pretrial hearing was held to determine whether a police video showing Kabot taking a field sobriety test can be used at her trial. Smith did not announce a ruling Monday on the video's admissibility.

In previous testimony, Westhampton Beach police said they stopped making a video recording of Kabot's arrest to review the video, inadvertently causing a four-minute gap in the video.

Keahon has said Westhampton Beach police officers had used the phrase, "We got her," to indicate that an alleged conspiracy to arrest Kabot before Election Day had been successful.

Monday, questioned by Keahon, Fusco testified McManus, one of the arresting officers, approached him after Fusco had responded to a traffic stop shortly after midnight last Sept. 7. Fusco said McManus showed him Kabot's driver's license and said, "Look who we've got."

Later, when questioned by prosecutors, Fusco said it was not unusual for police officers to disclose to superior officers the identities of people arrested at traffic stops.

After the hearing, Keahon said the phrases, "We got her," and "Look who we've got," are essentially the same.

"I'm not sure there is really a difference," Keahon told reporters outside court. "I think he [McManus] was letting them know he accomplished what they wanted to accomplish."

Smith denied Keahon's request to have McManus testify. Smith sided with prosecutors who argued that McManus could not testify because he had no role in handling the video.

Westhampton Beach Det. Edwin Hamor testified Monday that a court-ordered investigation failed to find the source of rumors that police conspired to hurt Kabot's re-election campaign.

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