Todd Poole, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx's chief of staff, has been convicted of driving while impaired.
At Poole's request, a judge permanently suppressed the records on his blood alcohol level in an order issued 12 days after his trial, court records show. The information on how much alcohol was in his system when he was arrested was not available or announced at his trial on Nov. 18, court records show.
Poole, 37, pleaded not guilty in the Watauga District Court trial. His case had been scheduled for trial this coming Monday, but it was heard earlier off the court docket, which is not unusual for defendants charged with driving while impaired.
Judge Gregory Horne found Poole guilty and placed him on probation for one year, court records show. Poole surrendered his license and was granted limited driving privileges for work and to perform 24 hours of community service that he was ordered to carry out within 60 days of the verdict.
The judge said Poole must undergo a substance abuse assessment and complete all recommended education or treatment, the records show.
Poole, as chief of staff for Foxx, is in charge of all of the employees in Foxx's office and is responsible for its administrative duties. Poole was paid $131,833 in 2010, according to a website that published congressional records.
A Foxx staff member in Washington said Poole was working in Foxx's Clemmons office Thursday. Poole didn't return a phone call seeking comment.
Foxx declined an interview request but issued a statement Thursday that said Poole has taken responsibility for his actions.
"Todd has served the people of the 5th District for more than 13 years," Foxx said in the statement. "He is a dedicated public servant with a passion for helping people. That's why I am so disappointed in his actions, which contradicts the high standards I expect from my staff."
Foxx said she is confident that Poole has learned from his mistake and "will use this experience to help others avoid similar mistakes."
When Foxx was first elected in 2004, Poole became her district director. He was promoted to Foxx's chief of staff in 2007. Foxx was elected to her fourth term in 2010.
On Aug. 9, Poole was charged by a trooper with the N.C. Highway Patrol with driving while impaired, as well as resisting a public officer and failing to yield a left turn, court records show. A prosecutor later dismissed the two other charges.
Poole, who lives in Winston-Salem, was driving on N.C. 105 in Watauga County and failed to yield to oncoming traffic while turning left at a traffic light onto a connector to Winklers Creek Road, the N.C. Highway Patrol said.
Poole had red, glassy eyes and slurred speech, smelled strongly of alcohol and was combative and unsteady on his feet, the N.C. Highway Patrol said in court records. Poole had to be forcibly removed from the car, the patrol said.
Poole had to be restrained twice in the testing room at the Watauga County Jail, records indicated. Authorities took a blood sample.
Poole's blood was sent to the State Bureau of Investigation lab, but the test results weren't available for Poole's trial.
During his trial, Poole objected to the use of his blood-test results at any time for any purpose, a court record shows.
On Nov. 30, Horne signed an order that the lab results showing his blood alcohol level "must be suppressed and excluded from consideration by this court and all agencies and departments of the state of North Carolina."
After he was charged, Poole voluntarily went to a mental health facility for assessment and participated in the recommended treatment, court records show.
Records show he completed 20 hours at Twin City Counseling in Winston-Salem, in six sessions from Aug. 23 to Sept. 27. The paperwork shows he successfully completed the short-term program with a good prognosis.
Poole paid $540, which included a $100 fine, along with a $250 community-service fee, and $190 in court costs, court records show.