Georgia authorities release video of Nick Ayers’ drunk driving arrest in 2006

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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City Pages in Minnesota has published the video footage released by authorities of Tim Pawlenty’s campaign manager Nick Ayers’ getting arrested for drunk driving in 2006. The video records Ayers’ discussion with the arresting officer and his attempts to sweet talk his way out of the arrest by explaining his political connections. At the time, Ayers was the campaign manager for Gov. Sonny Perdue. The charges against Ayers were later dropped.

City Pages reports that according to the police report filed by the arresting officer, “Trooper First Class J.W. Rickett of the Georgia State Patrol saw Ayers’ Chevy Tahoe weaving and doing 50 in a 35-mph zone. Rickett followed the truck, which turned into a parking lot, sped up, and nearly hit another vehicle in an apparent effort to hide.”

The first thing Ayers says to the officer is “We’re with Governor Perdue’s campaign headquarters.”

In the video of the arrest, Ayers says he has only had one drink, a Jack and Diet Coke – which he repeats on the way to the station. But City Pages reports that in “Rickett’s police report states he smelled strongly of alcohol.”

As the officer drives Ayers to the police station, Ayers explains repeatedly how much respect he has for law enforcement and the job that they do.

He asks that the officer try to keep his arrest from becoming a political issue.

“I just got one ask,” Ayers tells the officer. “I may have made a personal bad decision tonight, having one drink and getting in the car and driving. But I just ask that we let the court hear it out, and that it does not become a political issue … My boss is a great guy and I only wish to live up to the standards of which he lives. That’s the only thing I ask for your consideration.”

The officer promises that “you’re no different than anyone else that I’ve brung down here.”

Ayers says he is worried the opposing campaign will use it against the Governor.

“Frankly, I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong, but I know they’d love to make an issue of it,” he says.

When the officer gets a call on his radio from another officer saying that executive security people were asking if they had pulled over a Tahoe, Ayers sounds rattled.

“See, man, there she goes,” he says.

“Just bring this down on me man, please,” Ayers pleads.

“I mean, I’ll take the fall before I let Sonny take the fall. This ain’t him. Do you really, do you understand what they’re about to do with this? Seriously man, do you understand what the other side is about to do with this?”

See the video here: