Assemblyman Steve Katz, R-Yorktown, Westchester County, has declined to answer questions about his marijuana possession charge March 14, and today at a news conference said it was “unprofessional” to be asked about it.
Katz was among Assembly Republicans who held a news conference at the Capitol today to push for the restoration of $90 million in cuts to the state’s Office of People With Developmental Disabilities.
Asked at the end of the question-and-answer period by Gannett’s Albany Bureau if he would comment about his high-profile charge, Katz said it was inappropriate to ask about the case.
“We’re talking today about OPWDD, and I think that’s rather unprofessional of you to bring this up right now,” Katz said. “I’m here for OPWDD, and I think that I’ll thank you to keep to the topic.”
He declined to answer further questions after the news conference.
Katz’s attorney, Susan Chana Lask, entered a plea deal on behalf of the assemblyman last Thursday in Coeymans Town Court, and he did not appear in court. Court papers showed he was found to be in possession of 3.5 grams of weed, and that a subsequent field test confirmed it.
As part of the plea agreement, Katz’s marijuana charge will be dismissed if he completes 20 hours of community service and stays out of trouble for the next six months. He was also charged with speeding after being stopped going 80 mph in a 65 mph zone and will have to pay a $75 fine.
Katz has not commented about the case since he issued a statement after the charges were made public. In a statement at the time, Katz called the situation “an unfortunate incident.”
“I will not let this incident impede my public service and my calls for real mandate relief, a better economic climate and better services for those in need in New York,” Katz’s statement read. “This should not overshadow the work I have done over the years for the public and my constituency. I am confident that once the facts are presented that this will quickly be put to rest.”