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Pa. Rep. Joe Brennan, who police say assaulted wife then drove drunk, headed to trial

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 23 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 25 2012 11:12:31 AM CDT

A state representative who police say was drunk when he assaulted his wife and then got behind the wheel is heading to trial.

FOUNTAIN HILL, Pa. -

A state representative, who police said was drunk when he assaulted his wife and then got behind the wheel, is heading to trial.

Pa. Rep. Joe Brennan said nothing as he waived his preliminary hearing before a judge in Lehigh County on Wednesday.

The prosecution said it was ready to present evidence and put Brennan's wife on the witness stand, if necessary.

"The next step in the process is to file formal charges in the Court of Common Pleas," said Stephen Van Natten, chief of prosecution for the Lehigh County District Attorney's office.

Police were called to Brennan's home in the 1200 block of Delaware Avenue in Fountain Hill, Lehigh Co., in August. Joe Brennan was not there, but according to police records, Brennan's wife was found with bruises on her arms and neck.

Police later caught up with Joe Brennan, with the smell of alcohol coming from his vehicle. The representative had a blood alcohol level of .20, two-and-a-half times the legal limit, according to police records.

Mrs. Brennan was not in the courtroom Wednesday.

"She was present for the hearing if the commonwealth needed testimony," said Van Natten.

The prosecution also had officers and other witnesses ready to testify.

"I can't really comment about that because it's an open case and commenting on the evidence is really not proper at this point in time," added Van Natten

Joe Brennan is facing charges of DUI, simple assault, and harassment. The incident in August marked his second DUI arrest in just more than a year.

The prosecution said the possible maximum jail time is two years behind bars, and just because he is a lawmaker doesn't mean he's above the law.

"Today's hearing was not to determine any proof beyond a reasonable doubt; that's for another day," said Van Natten. "The fact that he's a representative has no bearing in how it's going to be handled by the district attorney's office."

The next court date for Joe Brennan will be his arraignment on Dec. 5.