boston.com your connection to The Boston Globe
Lawyer Tom Connolly sat in a police cruiser after he allegedly startled motorists yesterday in South Portland, Maine.
Lawyer Tom Connolly sat in a police cruiser after he allegedly startled motorists yesterday in South Portland, Maine. (Gordon Chimbroski/ Portland Press Herald via Associated Press)

Bin Laden costume and toy gun bring arrest

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine -- The lawyer who divulged President Bush's drunken-driving arrest days before the 2000 election was arrested at gunpoint yesterday after he was seen on a highway construction site carrying a toy gun while dressed in an Osama bin Laden costume.

Tom Connolly, 49, of Scarborough, was charged with criminal threatening after he stood at the site visible to commuters on Interstate 295 while wearing the Halloween costume and waving a sign.

Police officers responding to motorists' calls found a man wearing a white robe and carrying a fake assault rifle.

Before he was arrested, Connolly walked toward officers as what appeared to be plastic grenades tumbled onto the ground, an officer said. The costume included plastic dynamite, grenades, and a replica AK-47 rifle.

"The whole thing is just incredibly bizarre," said South Portland Police Chief Ed Googins. "It just crossed the line."

Connolly, who was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1998, met with reporters briefly after posting $500 cash bail to secure his release from the Cumberland County Jail in Portland. He said his case is scheduled for December and he intends to plead not guilty.

"There was a First Amendment this morning when I woke up. I don't know how it evaporated with the dawn," said Connolly, who drew national attention when he was identified as the Democrat who tipped off the media to Bush's 1976 drunken-driving arrest in Kennebunkport.

Connolly has been known for wearing costumes to make political statements, typically donning a Bush mask and dancing for passing motorists.

SEARCH THE ARCHIVES
 
Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives