Weyher wants jury to decide DUI case
After pleading not guilty to charges that he assaulted a police officer and drove while intoxicated in the Snyderville Basin, embattled Summit County Democratic Party chairman Rob Weyher Tuesday requested a jury trial.
Weyher is charged with misdemeanors for allegedly assaulting an officer, interfering with an arrest, driving under the influence of alcohol, failing to signal and speeding. A trial for the man is scheduled Aug. 30 at 9 a.m. in Third District Court in Silver Summit.
Meanwhile, the county’s chief Democrat could be arraigned July 26 in Salt Lake County Justice Court on a separate charge that alleges Weyher offered to pay Salt Lake Democrat Josh Ewing to withdraw from the race to replace state Rep. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, in House District 25. Attempting to bribe a candidate to leave a race is a class B misdemeanor.
The primary contest pits Ewing against Salt Lake City resident Christine Johnson in a legislative district that includes portions of western Summit County.
With voters casting primary ballots Tuesday in the House race and contests for Summit County assessor and clerk, Weyher predicted Johnson would defeat Ewing by 15 points.
Weyher admitted that in May he offered to cover Ewing’s campaign expenses if the candidate would end the bout with Johnson by withdrawing.
But he intends to plead not guilty to the charge.
"[Weyher] offered me what amounts to a bribe to get out of the race," Ewing recently told The Park Record.
Despite the criminal charges and revelations that the construction magnate contributed more money to Republican candidates for Congress and the White House than he gave to Democrats, Weyher says he feels no pressure to resign.
"I have pretty overwhelming support," Weyher said Tuesday, adding that most of the critics calling for his resignation are from Parkites.
But Oakley Democrat Patrick Cone insists Weyher should step down until the charges are resolved.
"You have to fall on your sword sometimes," Cone said. "There are some times when you have to look at the good of the organization and not necessarily your own welfare."
Weyher’s antics could harm Democrats running in primary and general elections, he added.
"There is such a thing as bad publicity and that is what this is. It’s not going away," said Cone, a member of the Summit County Democratic Party Central Committee and former Summit County commissioner. "You don’t sit there and declare yourself a leader in the Democratic Party and then pick and choose which candidates and which parties you want to back."
Jokes from Weyher that he no longer worries about misdemeanors against him further "disillusion" people’s views of politicians, Cone said, adding, "as somebody who has been in public office, I think you should care about any charges that are brought against you."
Though impeachment of a chairman is not addressed by Democratic Party bylaws, Pinebrook resident Mike Andrews says he is helping a group attempting to remove Weyher from office.
"[Weyher] has very little support," Andrews said.
Weyher’s actions "demonstrate a total lack of political judgment," he added.
"I think he is totally out of touch with reality," said Andrews, a former Park City School District official.
Weyher countered, "[Andrews] has not been active in Summit County Democratic politics since I have been involved."
"I’m sure glad none of my children were in the educational system in Park City when [Andrews] had anything to do with it, because he does not understand how the United States government works," Weyher said. "I do."
Cone hadn’t ruled out impeachment or the possibility county Democrats would force Weyher to resign.
"If a majority of the people involved say [impeachment] is where we want to go, then, at that point, we’ll see who wins I guess," Cone said.
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