Police did not have the right to stop a car being driven by President Barack Obama's uncle before his drunken-driving arrest, his lawyer said in court Thursday.
Attorney P. Scott Bratton said during a brief appearance in Framingham District Court that he plans next month to file a motion to suppress the traffic stop that led Onyango Obama's arrest in August.
"He wasn't committing any motor vehicle violations at the time. That's our position," Bratton said.
Obama, the 67-year-old half brother of the president's late father, has pleaded not guilty to charges of operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to yield the right of way.
Obama did not speak in court Thursday. A hearing on his lawyer's suppression request is scheduled for Jan. 12.
Obama was arrested in Framingham, about 20 miles west of Boston, after police said he rolled through a stop sign and nearly caused a cruiser to strike his SUV. Police said Obama, an illegal immigrant, failed several sobriety tests and blew a reading of 0.14 percent on a blood-alcohol breath test, above the state's legal driving limit of 0.08 percent.
After being booked at the police station, police said Obama was asked whether he wanted to make a telephone call to arrange for bail.
"I think I will call the White House," he stated, according to a police report.
Obama initially was held without bail on a detainer from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on allegations he violated an order to return to Kenya 20 years ago. He was subsequently released and ordered to regularly check in with immigration officials.
In the book "Dreams from My Father," the president writes about retracing his roots and his 1988 trip to Kenya. In that section, he refers to an Uncle Omar, who matches Obama's background and has the same date of birth.
The White House has said it expects the arrest of Onyango Obama to be handled like any other case.