Sidney Blumenthal Was Popped for a DWI Nine Years Ago Today

On This Day in History: Cops nab Clinton pal speeding after 'some wine with dinner'

Sidney Blumenthal mugshot
January 7, 2017

It was nine years ago today on Jan. 7, 2008 that top Clinton family adviser Sidney Blumenthal was arrested in Nashua, New Hampshire, and given a drunk driving charge by police.

Blumenthal, who worked in the White House as a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and has served as a trusted confidant for the family ever since, was in New Hampshire as an adviser for Hillary Clinton's failed 2008 presidential campaign when he was nabbed by police.

Blumenthal was caught just after midnight in a rental Buick going 70 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone. He declined to take a Breathalyzer test but was arrested after failing the field sobriety test that was administered.

Blumenthal was given an "aggravated driving while intoxicated" charge because he was going more than 20 mph over the speed limit. The Clinton campaign refused to comment on the arrest at the time.

Video released by New Hampshire police shows that Blumenthal was cooperative with authorities during his booking, which earned him the right of having his handcuffs removed.

Blumenthal said during questioning with police that he "had some wine with dinner," the video reveals. He denied having any suicidal thoughts and said he did not seek psychiatric care.

Further video shows that Blumenthal again refused to have his blood alcohol concentration tested in the station.

Blumenthal grew testy when told that the bail commissioner would arrive at the jail "within a few hours" to make an assessment.

"Well, when you say a few hours, what do you mean?" asked Blumenthal, who was informed that the officer meant the commissioner would be woken up and arrive within a few hours.

"Well, I'm sorry to wake him up," Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal's biggest concern during the arrest was his ability to return his Buick rental car.

Two months later, Blumenthal caught a fortunate break as the arresting officer was activated by the military and headed to Iraq, which forced prosecutors to let Blumenthal off easy.

In the plea deal, Blumenthal's driving privileges were revoked for 16 months, and he paid a fine of $900. He also agreed to enlist in an alcohol intervention program in Washington, D.C.

The arrest did not negatively affect Blumenthal's relationship with the Clintons.

After Hillary Clinton was named secretary of state, she wanted Blumenthal to join her at the State Department.

President Obama and his chief of staff at the time, Rahm Emanuel, blocked the hire, not wanting the known conspiracy theorist who was involved in the Clinton campaign's smear campaign against Obama to have any role in the administration.

That didn't stop the Clintons from keeping Blumenthal in the loop. He was given a top job at the Clinton Foundation and was raking in cash from Clinton-tied groups such as American Bridge and Media Matters for America.

Emails released by the State Department showed that Blumenthal was in frequent communication with Clinton during her time at the State Department and that his advice was valued. The correspondence included passing along intelligence on Libya as he worked to advance his own business interests in the North African nation.

The date of Blumenthal's arrest came on a dark day in Clinton history.

On this date eighteen years ago, Bill Clinton's impeachment trial regarding charges of lying under oath and obstructing justice officially began in the Senate.

Jan. 7 is also the birthdate of deceptive editor and failed network news anchor Katie Couric, S.W.A.T. actor Jeremy Renner, failed football player Michael Sam, Hollywood legend Nicolas Cage, Obama bundler scion Blue Ivy Carter, Saved by the Bell star Dustin Diamond, and the final Whig Party president of the United States, Millard Fillmore.

In Japan, Jan. 7 is also the date of the Nanakusa no Sekku, or Festival of Seven Herbs, in which people are known to eat seven-herb rice porridge.