MIAMI - Miguel Bertonatti -- the brother of Carlos Bertonatti, who will be sentenced in a fatal drunk-driving case -- was scheduled to accept blame for Carlos' history of drivers violations. Instead, he took the Fifth.
Carlos' bad driving record is one of the factors that Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Bronwyn Miller will consider in deciding his sentence for the DUI manslaughter that killed bicyclist Christophe LeCanne on the Rickenbacker Causeway in January 2010.
His brother Miguel was to testify Wednesday that he stole and drove with Carlos' license, and that dozens of citations were actually his. But a court-appointed attorney advised him not to incriminate himself on the stand.
"You lost your license back in 2005. Is that correct?" asked Carlos Bertonatti's attorney Robert Pertierra.
"From this point on, I refuse to answer any questions under my Fifth Amendment," replied Miguel Bertonatti.
Pertierra continued with questions, the only way to get the information into the court record around Miguel Bertonatti's refusal to answer.
Pertierra asked whether Miguel Bertonatti drove without a license, then used his brother's identity and received 30 traffic citations. Bertonatti took the Fifth Amendment both times.
Police say Carlos Bertonatti hit LeCanne on Jan. 17, 2010 when his blood alcohol content was .122, well over Florida's legal limit of 0.08.
Bertonatti, 32, faces up to 37 years in prison for DUI manslaughter and resisting arrest without violence in LeCanne's death.
The sentencing hearing began Monday. Friends and family members of Bertonatti have since asked the judge to show leniency when sentencing him.
Miller said she will sentence Bertonatti on Thursday.
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