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Democratic chief still not charged

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Members of the Summit County Democratic Party were reeling this week in the wake of a revelation that their chairman could face an assault charge.

Summit County Democratic Party chair Rob Weyher was booked into jail April 25 after a trooper stopped him for speeding in the parking lot at Tanger Outlet Center, Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Randall Richey said.

As of Friday, no formal court charges had been filed against Weyher.

"I cannot say what it will be because I’m waiting for additional information," Summit County prosecutor Gus Chin said.

He expects Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s Office staffers to file reports. Weyher was arrested around midnight after an alleged altercation with officers on the street, Richey said.

Weyher, 54, is accused of assaulting a police officer, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, interfering with an officer and disorderly conduct, a jail spokeswoman said.

Officers did not ask Weyher to take a breath test, however, the 54-year-old suspect refused to submit to a blood test, Chin said.

"He declined to do the blood test, so for all intents and purposes, it’s a refusal," the prosecutor said during a telephone interview Thursday.

Summit County Democratic Party Central Committee member Mike Marty stood by his friend this week.

"We presume [Weyher] is innocent until he is proven guilty," Marty said.

No provision in the County Democratic Party bylaws allows for the removal of party officers, he added.

"I would not support his resignation, I would not support someone asking him to resign," Marty said.

He praised Weyher as perhaps the most effective Summit County chair ever.

"I think he’s taken the leadership 100-fold beyond what anyone else has done in the party as chair, myself included," said Marty, who is a former County Democratic Party chair. "I think Robbie has just taken it on and is really engaged in it and really involved in it."

Summit County Republican Jim Shea Jr. withdrew from the Statehouse election after Weyher questioned whether Shea met Utah’s residency requirements based on the former candidate’s voting record in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Seen as a political insider, Weyher accurately predicted last year that Republican state Sen. Beverly Evans would not seek re-election.

"[Weyher] wants to promote Democratic politics, which promotes dialogue, which promotes democracy," Marty said.

But the allegations against the party chairman are serious, conceded Democratic Party Central Committee member Patrick Cone.

"I think it’s appropriate to call a meeting and talk about it," Cone said. "I would hope Rob does the right thing, whatever that is for him."

During the arrest, Weyher allegedly scuffled with officers on the street and inside the jail, Richey said.

"We’re still investigating," Summit County sheriff’s Lt. Kyle Lewis said.

According to Summit County Attorney David Brickey, "[Weyher was] belligerent with the jailers."

"He gets defiant and he wouldn’t do what he was told," Brickey said, claiming he watched video footage shot inside the jail.

Brickey won’t likely decide whether to charge Weyher until next week.

"We have so many departments involved in this because of the way he acted," Brickey said.

Chin insists Weyher’s prominence in the community will garner him no special treatment.

"Wealth is never a factor," Chin said. "Even the rich and the powerful are given the same weight and same consideration as the ordinary man or woman on the street."

Weyher’s Park City-based attorney, Gail Laser, was not available for comment for this story.

"I think it was a misunderstanding and I’m hoping that everything can be worked out," Laser said during a telephone interview on Tuesday. "Our assumption is that Rob will be exonerated."

County Democratic Party brass plan to meet in May to discuss the matter.


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