Ashburn apologizes for DUI; Gay nightclub allegations arise

Ashburn apologizes for DUI; Gay nightclub allegations arise
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, has apologized for his arrest Wednesday morning on suspicion of drunk driving.

"I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment," Ashburn said in a statement issued late Wednesday afternoon. "I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did."

The California Highway Patrol stopped Ashburn about 2 a.m. in downtown Sacramento, because his vehicle was weaving in traffic, according to Sgt. Rick Campbell.

The arresting officers noted the smell of alcohol coming from Ashburn's state-issued black Chevy Tahoe, Campbell said.

Ashburn, who Campbell called "cooperative," was booked into the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department jail just before 4 a.m. on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. The senator was subsequently released.

The Sacramento County District Attorney's office said Thursday that Ashburn had a blood-alcohol level content of .14 percent, well above the .08 legal limit.

"I am also truly sorry for the impact this incident will have on those who support and trust me – my family, my constituents, my friends and my colleagues in the Senate,” Ashburn said in Wednesday's statement sent to Eyewitness News.

The CHP said Ashburn was not alone. There was a male passenger in the SUV. The man was not identified, but the CHP said he was not a lawmaker.

Sources tell Eyewitness News' CBS sister-station in Sacramento, KOVR, that Ashburn had been at a nightclub called Faces prior to his arrest. KOVR's story states that Faces is a gay nightclub in midtown Sacramento.

Ashburn's representatives told Eyewitness News on Thursday morning that they wouldn't comment on whether the senator was at the nightclub, calling it "speculation."

Project Vote Smart shows Ashburn has a consistent record of voting against gay-rights issues, including four "nay" votes last year. Those Senate bills included recognizing out-of-state gay marriages and establishing a day to recognize slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

Ashburn represents the 18th Senate District and will be forced to leave the Senate this year because of term limits.

Before serving in the Senate, Ashburn served for six years as a state assemblyman and for 12 years as a Kern County Supervisor.