STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, NOV. 14, 2019.....The Senate stripped Brockton Sen. Michael Brady of his $15,000-a-year post as Senate chairman of the Committee on Public Service on Thursday night as punishment for his conduct during his March 2018 drunk driving arrest, which was deemed to be a violation of the chamber's rules.

The Senate Ethics Committee, chaired by Longmeadow Sen. Eric Lesser, determined that Brady had violated a rule that prohibits members from using their official position or "improper means to influence" another official or entity. In a vote that occurred just before 8 p.m., the full Senate agreed with the committee's findings.

The finding stemmed from the fact that Brady told his arresting officer that he was a senator, and presented his State House identification card before he was asked to take a field sobriety test. He told the committee that prior to his arrest he had been taking whiskey shots with a "bunch of young people" at a bar near the State House.

"The process undertaken by this committee has been difficult but necessary," Senate President Karen Spilka said in a statement.

The committee's report was filed shortly after 6 p.m., and Senate Democrats and Republicans huddled in a joint caucus for nearly three hours in Spilka's office before emerging to adopt a resolution ratifying the committee's recommendations on a voice vote.

"It's an important report and we discussed its contents and we discussed appropriate action," said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, who as a member of the Ethics Committee described its work as "thorough."

Five of the seven members of the Ethics Committee approached after the vote for additional comment, including Lesser and Tarr, declined to discuss the outcome further, repeating the same line that the report "speaks for itself." Spilka referred backed to her statement thanking the committee for its work.

The deliberations unfolded after the Senate spent the day debating a drug pricing bill that passed unanimously.

Democrats replaced Brady on the Public Service Committee with Sen. Barry Finegold, who already co-chairs the Election Laws Committee. Finegold was not present for the final vote. Brady read a statement to the caucus before leaving, and did not attend the vote to remove him from his chairmanship, according to someone close to the senator.

In a statement to the News Service, Brady said he accepted the decision of the Senate and apologized to his colleagues.

"It has never been my intention to embarrass my colleagues, my constituents, or to put anyone else in a precarious situation. I pled to the charges because I was driving under the influence. Being under the influence, and due to the time that has lapsed, I do not have full recollection of the events that took place. I never intended to suggest to anybody that I was above the law, or that special standards should apply to me," Brady said.

Brady was arrested early on a Saturday morning in March 2018 in Weymouth after an off-duty Uber driver followed him on Interstate 93 South and onto Main Street in South Weymouth before calling police.

The Brockton senator told police at the time of his arrest that he had been at a "work event" in Boston, and was on his way home to Brockton. He entered a plea deal in Quincy District Court in June in which he admitted the state had enough evidence to convict him of drunk driving.

The Ethics investigation, which began in late June after Brady's plea, consisted of obtaining and reviewing a transcript of Brady's plea hearing, a copy of the Quincy District Court docket containing Brady's criminal case and the Weymouth Police Department arrest report.

Brady and his attorney were also given the chance to meet with the committee.

The confidential meeting took place on July 18, 2019, during which Brady presented the committee with a copy of his arrest report as well as documentation proving his voluntary participation in a treatment program for alcohol use after his arrest.

Brady acknowledged to the committee that he had offered the arresting officer, Weymouth Police Officer Christopher D'Angelo, his State House identification card after being stopped. He told the committee that he did not remember telling the cop that he was a state senator, but did not dispute D'Angelo's account that included that statement.

According to the Ethics Committee report, Brady said he was "nervous and fumbling around in his glove compartment for his registration" when he presented his State House ID because it was easier to reach into his jacket pocket for the ID card than get his license from his wallet, which was in his back pocket.

D'Angelo, according to court documents, said that Brady presented the card right before he was about to take field sobriety tests. Asked by the committee if he was attempting to influence the outcome of those failed tests, Brady said, "I don't know," according to the report.

Brady said that on the night of the arrest he had attended a "community celebration" in Brockton in the afternoon, which lasted "until the dinner hour."

"Senator Brady's account of what happened next was less clear," the committee found.

Brady told his colleagues he drove to Boston to pick up someone from Logan Airport, and ended up in the North End looking for parking. When he could not find a spot, he drove to the State House to use the restroom, and stopped at an unidentified bar nearby where he took shots of whiskey with what Brady described to the committee as a "bunch of young people."

Brady never did pick up anyone from the airport, and at 2 a.m. attempted to drive home. He said he told the police officer he was coming from a "work event" in order to not get the bar where he was drinking in trouble.

"Senator Brady said it was his responsibility, not 'the place,'" the report states.

Senate President Karen Spilka emerged from her office suite just before 8 p.m. followed by Senate Ethics Chairman Eric Lesser, after a nearly three-hour private caucus. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]In addition to stripping him of his chairmanship, the committee "strongly suggested" he seek additional treatment. Brady was allowed to keep his vice-chairmanship on the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, which comes with a stipend of $5,200.

"Although it is not the traditional responsibility of the Committee, the Committee strongly suggests that Senator Brady continue to seek out and receive professional evaluation and appropriate treatment," the committee concluded.

Brady, in his statement Thursday, said, "As someone with substance abuse disorder the road to recovery is a difficult one but I am fully committed to my recovery and to continue serving my constituents with honor."

The full Senate referred Brady's case to the Ethics Committee for review in late June, three weeks after Brady entered a plea deal in Quincy District Court in which he admitted the state had enough evidence to convict him of drunk driving. As part of the deal, he agreed to surrender his driver's license for 45 days and enlist in an alcohol-use education program.

If Brady complies with the terms of his deal, the operating under the influence charge will be dismissed on June 2, 2020.

Brady said in June he did not think an Ethics Committee investigation was necessary.

"I've had my day in court. I've abided by the outcome of the court case, and I just disagree. It was discussed, but I disagree it has to go any further than this, about the decision to send it to an Ethics thing. But I'm learning about the process and I'm going to deal with the process as it goes along," Brady told reporters at the time.

After the incident, Brady apologized to his constituents, colleagues and police and said he was admitting himself for a short time into treatment for alcohol use.

It was Brady's second charge for operating under the influence, the first occurring 20 years earlier also in Weymouth. Those charges were eventually reduced, and he was cited for reckless driving and paid a fine.

[State House News' Service's Katie Lannan contributed reporting.]