A special prosecutor has been appointed to handle the drunken driving case of Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.
Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella has been named to handle that misdemeanor case. On Wednesday, Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson said Ontario County DA Jim Ritts would ask that a special prosecutor be appointed to avoid any perception of favoritism.
Kolb was charged on New Year’s Eve when his state-owned SUV got stuck in a ditch near his home in the town of Victor. The sheriff said there was minor damage to the vehicle and no one was injured. Kolb also faces a charge of making an unsafe turn.
Rochester Public radio's WXXI News contacted several area Republican Assemblymembers Thursday, and so far the only one who has responded is Peter Lawrence of the 134th District, which includes towns in western Monroe County.
Lawrence, who is a former U.S. Marshal and State Police official, said in a written statement that he “was surprised and disappointed” to learn of Kolb’s arrest, saying that as a former member of law enforcement, he found it particularly troubling.
But Lawrence also said that since the incident involves state government property, it could be brought to the Assembly’s Committee on Ethics and Guidance, of which is he a member, so it would not be appropriate for him to comment further.
On Wednesday, a Republican member of the Assembly from the Hudson Valley, Kieran Michael Lalor, called on Kolb to step down as minority leader.
— Kieran Michael Lalor (@KieranLalor) January 1, 2020
Kolb has not commented beyond his initial statement issued Wednesday, calling the arrest “a terrible lapse in judgment.” Kolb said he made the wrong decision and one he deeply regrets.