State Auditor Tom Salmon today pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence, stemming from a traffic stop November 13.
In all, the proceedings took less than five minutes, and Salmon made only two brief statements to the court. He answered no questions from the media upon leaving the courtroom and paying his $500 fine and $376 in court charges.
Salmon appeared in court with his attorney and his wife.
When asked by Judge Brian Grearson if he wanted to make a statement, Salmon said he did.
"Yes your honor, I want to say simply that I understand I made a mistake and I'm here today to deal with it and move forward," Salmon told the court.
That was a similar message that Salmon told the media at a wide-ranging press conference on November 20. At that point, he said he planned to plead guilty and would not contest the charges. He also responded to a "Fair Game" column that detailed some of Salmon's past financial difficulties.
According to a police summary of the Nov. 13 incident, Trooper Brandon Doll stopped Salmon around 10:30 p.m. Salmon was driving a 2008 Honda Civic and failed to use a turn signal.
"In speaking with Salmon it was determined that he had been drinking, and Salmon admitted to having a few drinks over the course of the evening," Doll noted in his report.
After a taking a breathalyzer test he was found to have a blood alcohol content of .086; Vermont's legal limit is .08.
The auditor had taken three employees and their spouses out for dinner to celebrate two promotions and a pay increase.
The celebration of those promotions came less than two weeks after Salmon had criticized union workers at an unemployment insurance fund hearing — essentially telling them if they still didn't have work in six months that they should consider finding a new line of work.
Earlier this year, Salmon left the Democratic Party to become a Republican.