Lawyer: GOP senator not stepping down amid investigation
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The lawyer for a Republican state senator being investigated by state police said Wednesday that his client has decided not to step down because he believes he did not commit a crime.
Police confirmed this week that they are investigating Sen. Nicholas Kettle, 27, the Senate minority whip, who represents parts of Coventry, Foster, Scituate and West Greenwich, and had searched his home. They have not said what they are investigating.
His attorney, Paul DiMaio, initially said on Tuesday that Kettle was likely to step down. But a day later, Di Maio said Kettle had decided that he had committed no crime, adding that “some people probably told him you look like you’re guilty if you step down.”
“He got support from other senators,” DiMaio said. “I think he decided that he wanted to fight.”
Just five Republicans are in the Senate, compared to 32 Democrats. House Minority Leader Dennis Algiere did not immediately return a message seeking comment about Kettle.
DiMaio said he doesn’t know what police are looking at, but thinks the allegation involves video voyeurism and images taken surreptitiously of Kettle’s girlfriend, whom Kettle recently broke up with. He stressed that he believes the images in question are not illegal and are not pornographic.
“There’s no allegation that he did something wrong up there,” he said, referring to the Statehouse.
Kettle agreed in December to pay a $2,000 fine and forfeit $4,000 from his campaign fund to the state Board of Elections after acknowledging he failed to report more than $15,000 in campaign contributions and more than $16,000 in campaign expenditures.
Police seized a cellphone during this week’s search of Kettle’s home, and DiMaio also turned over Kettle’s computer, which Kettle gave him before his home was searched, DiMaio said.
His lawyer said he thinks Kettle is being targeted because he is an elected official.
“I don’t think if he wasn’t a state senator they would be spending the money on this,” DiMaio said.