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Former teen idol Cassidy faces NY court appearance on DWI charge

By TG Branfalt Jr.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - David Cassidy, the "Partridge Family" star and 1970s teen idol, will have to appear in a New York court to face a drunken driving charge after missing a proceeding related to his plea deal, apparently because he was playing a game of bocce nearby.

Cassidy, 64, was charged last summer with driving while intoxicated. He was initially allowed to forego an in-person appearance at Schodack Town Court that is typically required in criminal cases because he lives in Florida and the court was told he was undergoing substance abuse treatment.

Cassidy's lawyer, Lucas Mihuta, was set to sign an agreement that would have allowed Cassidy to enter a guilty plea on misdemeanor charges without being present.

But at 11:09 a.m. on Wednesday, the New York Horse racing Association tweeted that Cassidy was at Saratoga Race Track, playing bocce with two horse trainers and an equine doctor.  

Carmelo Laquidara, Rensselaer County chief assistant district attorney, said he heard about the tweet from members of the media, and called the episode "odd and disturbing."

"Once we were made aware of that, we no longer consented to any plea agreement being done through the mail, through his attorney," Laquidara said.

Laquidara says his office is still working on a deal with Cassidy's lawyer but Cassidy will now have to be present at his next court appearance, scheduled for Sept. 3.

"Any plea agreement that we reach is going to have to be done personally, with a personal appearance by Mr. Cassidy in court," Laquidara said. "Just like everybody else."

Mihuta was not available for comment.

Cassidy, was arrested on Aug. 21, 2013 for felony driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of .10 percent.

He was convicted of driving while intoxicated in Florida in 2011. In that case his license was suspended and he served one year of probation.

(Editing by Edith Honan, Sandra Maler and Eric Walsh)

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