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Obama's uncle returns to court in drunken driving case

An uncle of President Barack Obama returned to a Massachusetts court on Thursday for a hearing in his drunk driving case, the prosecutor's office said.
Image: Onyango Obama
Onyango Obama, uncle of President Barack Obama, waits Thursday in Framingham, Mass., District Court during a hearing on an August drunken driving charge.Ken Mcgagh / AP
/ Source: msnbc.com staff and news service reports

An uncle of President Barack Obama returned to a Massachusetts court on Thursday for a hearing in his drunk driving case, the prosecutor's office said.

Onyango Obama, 67, of Framingham, Mass., appeared in Framingham District Court for a pre-trial conference, said Jessica Venezia-Pastore, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

He was arrested on Aug. 24 and charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, failure to yield at an intersection and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, prosecutors say.

The Boston Globe reported that Onyango Obama did not speak during his 2-minute appearance. He was released on personal recognizance by Judge Robert V. Greco.

Obama and his attorney, Scott Bratton, left the courthouse without speaking to reporters and drove off in a black SUV, the  Globe said.

His next scheduled court appearance is Nov. 17 for a hearing to decide whether his case will be tried by a jury or a judge, said Venezia-Pastore.

Onyango Obama, who is originally from Kenya, is a half-brother of President Obama's father, an administration official confirmed.

The president's uncle pleaded not guilty to all the motor vehicle charges on Aug. 25 and was released.

In late August, he also was briefly held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on allegations that he violated an order issued a number of years ago to return to Kenya. He then was released.

At the time of his arrest, Obama allegedly told Framingham police, “I think I will call the White House’’ to arrange bail, the Globe said.