Last updated on February 25, 2021 11:48 am
BY FRANCES MULRANEY
Donald Trump Jr. has claimed that Bruce Springsteen’s drunk driving and reckless driving charges were dropped by the federal government this week because of ‘liberal privilege’.
The government dropped the charges against 71-year-old Springsteen on Wednesday stemming from an incident in November, after admitting that the rocker’s blood-alcohol level was so low that it didn’t warrant the charges.
When he took a breath test at the park’s ranger station, Springsteen’s blood-alcohol came back .02, a quarter of the legal limit of .08 in New Jersey, prosecutors said.
Yet Trump Jr. argued in a tweet on Thursday that Springsteen’s ‘privilege’ was the only reason he got off the hook.
‘I’d say it’s #WhitePrivilege but we all know it’s really #LiberalPrivilege,’ he wrote.
The government dropped drunk and reckless driving charges against 71-year-old Bruce Springsteen (pictured left) on Wednesday stemming from an incident in November, after admitting that the rocker’s blood-alcohol level was so low that it didn’t warrant the charges. Yet Donald Trump Jr. (pictured right) has claimed it was all down to ‘liberal privilege’
Donald Trump Jr. has claimed that Bruce Springsteen’s drunk driving and reckless driving charges were dropped by the federal governent this week because of ‘liberal privilege’
Don Jr.’s comment came just a day after the news broke that he was deposed this month by the attorney general of Washington, D.C. in a probe of over alleged misuse of funds by the Trump inaugural committee.
The president’s son, a Trump Organization executive, made a statement on February 11 to a probe launched by D.C. attorney general Karl Racine.
Racine is conducting a probe of the 2017 inaugural committee after suing the company and Trump’s D.C. hotel for alleged misuse of Trump inaugural funds.
Racine accuses the entities of ‘blatantly and unlawfully abusing nonprofit funds to enrich the Trump family,’ something Trump Jr. and the Trump Organization have denied.
While the drunk driving and reckless driving charges were dropped, on Wednesday Springsteen pleaded guilty to a third charge, consuming alcohol in a closed area.
The Boss was arrested on November 14 near the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in Gateway National Recreation Area, a federal park along the northern New Jersey coast.
He was stopped by by park rangers after he was seen pulling over on his motorbike to pose for selfies with fans and accepting a shot of Patron tequila.
Alcohol has been banned entirely from the Gateway National Park since 2019, and is prohibited from being brought onto its beaches, parking lots, park grounds, picnic areas and boating docks.
Facing a judge and more than 100 onlookers in a video conference, Springsteen sat next to lawyer Mitchell Ansell and admitted he was aware it was illegal to consume alcohol at the park.
‘I had two small shots of tequila,’ Springsteen said in response to questions from an assistant U.S. attorney.
The case was heard in federal court because the park is considered federal land.
Wearing a dark blazer, sweater and collared shirt, Springsteen sat next to his lawyer Mitchell Ansell during the appearance before Magistrate Judge Anthony Mautone on Wednesday
The judge (top right) asked Springsteen (bottom right) when he would be able to pay the fine by, to which he responded with a smile: ‘I think I can pay that right away’
U.S. Magistrate Anthony Mautone fined Springsteen $500 for the offense, plus $40 in court fees.
‘I am going to impose nothing but a fine,’ the judge said, adding that Springsteen has an incredibly clean driving history dating back to 1973, with only three violations, including the use of a handheld phone.
‘Rarely would you see a driver’s abstract so devoid of any entries. I’m convinced a fine is the appropriate sentence in this case,’ Mautone said.
‘I think I can pay that immediately, your honor,’ Springsteen told Mautone.
The federal court then granted the prosecution’s request to dismiss the additional two charges of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving because of the lack of evidence that the charges were warranted.
A DWI in a national park is a misdemeanor federal offense, carrying a maximum sentence of six months in jail and fines of up to $5,000. Probation can also be up to five years.
In an emailed statement, Ansell wrote that Springsteen ‘is pleased with the outcome’ of the court hearing.
‘The prosecutor was unable to provide the necessary evidence and facts as it related to the charge of Driving under the Influence (DUI) and Reckless Driving and therefore, dismissed both of those charges,’ Ansell said.
‘Mr. Springsteen, who has no previous criminal record of any kind, voluntarily plead guilty to a violation of consuming an alcoholic beverage in a closed area, agreeing to a fine of $500. We want to thank the Court and will have no further comment at this time.’
Drinking at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, New Jersey (as pictured above above) is strictly prohibited since 2019, according to its website
Springsteen was arrested near the lighthouse (shown above) in the Gateway National Recreation Area on Sandy Hook back on November 14, 2020 and charged with DWI, reckless driving and drinking in a close area. The first two charges were dismissed on Wednesday
A DWI in a national park is a misdemeanor federal offense, carrying a maximum sentence of six months in jail and fines of up to $5,000. Probation can also be up to five years, according to Freeburg Law. Pictured above is a map of the Sandy Hook peninsula
According to a probable cause document written by park police at the time of the incident, Springsteen told a park officer he had done two shots in the previous 20 minutes.
The officer wrote that he saw Springsteen take a shot of tequila and then get on his motorcycle.
The ranger also said he ‘observed four out of six clues on the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.’
He wrote that the rocker ‘smelt strongly of alcohol’ and ‘had glassy eyes’ and that there was a bottle of Patron tequila that was ‘completely empty.’
The report described Springsteen as ‘visibly swaying back and forth’ during a field sobriety test and said he declined to provide a sample on an initial breath test.
Mautone said Wednesday that the preliminary test is not required and is not admissible in court.
He later underwent a breathalyzer test back at the rangers’ station, as legally required, where his blood alcohol was found to be .02.
While Springsteen’s blood alcohol was found to be well within the legal threshold, according to both state and federal law, an arresting officer can still charge a suspect with a level below .08 if they observe sufficient signs of impairment.
It is unclear if that was the case in Springsteen’s arrest.
Sources close to Springsteen had previously called into question the legitimacy of the star’s arrest and suggested the charges against him should be thrown out. +8
Springsteen’s arrest was first reported just days after 96.4million viewers watched him star in an ad for Jeep during this year’s Super Bowl (as pictured above) Video playing bottom right…Click here to expand to full page
Speaking to CNN earlier this month, one source said: ‘When this is all resolved, I think, people are going to have some serious doubts about the seriousness of this, especially when the actual details of this are revealed, including the blood alcohol level.
‘I don’t know why they stopped him,’ they continued. ‘I mean technically you’re not allowed to drink in a state park, and I don’t know, maybe, if a policeman sees somebody drinking and doesn’t give them a ticket, they lose their job.’
News of Springsteen’s arrest took three months to come to light. It is currently unclear why.
However, the incident was first reported just days after 96.4million viewers watched him star in an ad for Jeep during the Super Bowl earlier this month – his first ever commercial campaign.
After news of the arrest, Jeep put on pause an ad that ran during the Super Bowl featuring Springsteen in Kansas urging people to find common ground.
Jeep said in a statement Wednesday it was unpausing the ad now ‘that the matter has been resolved.’
‘As we stated previously, we paused the commercial until the facts were established,’ Jeep said.
Springsteen performed January 20 as part of President Joe Biden´s inauguration, singing ‘Land of Hope and Dreams’ in front of the Lincoln Memorial.