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Ousted Middle Tennessee ex-lawmaker arrested on DUI charge in crash

GOP Rep. Jeremy Durham, who was expelled in 2016, is facing charges in a Nashville car crash of DUI, possessing drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest.
Credit: AP
FILE - Republican Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, addresses the House on Sept. 13, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn., from the well of the camber to urge his colleagues not to expel him from the Tennessee General Assembly. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A former Tennessee lawmaker who was expelled from his seat in 2016 is facing charges for a downtown Nashville car crash of driving under the influence, possessing drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest.

According to an arrest affidavit, former Republican Rep. Jeremy Durham was in the car crash late Saturday, and the other driver involved claimed an injury.

The affidavit says Durham had slurred speech, dilated pupils, was unsteady on his feet, attempted to walk away from the officer, then tried to pull away from the officer while being handcuffed. When Durham was in the patrol vehicle, he smelled like alcohol, had bloodshot, watery eyes, and his speech was slow and mumbled, the affidavit states.

Durham refused to perform a field sobriety test or consent to a blood test, replying to both by saying "lawyer," the affidavit states. Authorities are requesting a search warrant for Durham's blood samples related to the DUI charge.

Officers also noted that they found a green metal grinder with marijuana residue when they searched Durham.

The Republican-led General Assembly expelled Durham, who represented Williamson County, in 2016. The ouster came after an attorney general's report detailed allegations that Durham engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with at least 22 women.

More recently, Durham was described — but not charged — as one of two unnamed co-conspirators in a federal case that charges GOP Sen. Brian Kelsey in a campaign finance scheme that involves Kelsey's failed 2016 congressional campaign. One of the unnamed coconspirators is described as an attorney and former Tennessee House member expelled in 2016. Former Rep. Jeremy Durham, an attorney from Franklin, was the only lawmaker expelled that year.

Joshua Smith, a Nashville social club owner, has reached a plea deal and pleaded guilty as Kelsey's co-defendant in the case.

Smith's plea agreement requires providing documents and testimony. It is unclear whether Durham will be called as a witness in Kelsey's case.

Kelsey, who has pleaded not guilty and has previously called the charges a "political witch hunt," is scheduled to head to trial in January.

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