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Ex-Miss USA Appears On Drunk Driving Charge

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Rima Fakih and her attorney W. Otis Culpepper in a Highland Park courtroom. (WWJ File Photo/Ron Dewey)

Rima Fakih and her attorney W. Otis Culpepper in a Highland Park courtroom. (WWJ File Photo/Ron Dewey)

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HIGHLAND PARK (WWJ) - Former Miss USA Rima Fakih made a brief appearance at Highland Park District Court where she will face a bench trial on misdemeanor drunk driving charges.

A judge set a March 14 trial date, but lawyers on both sides said they hope to resolve the case sooner.

WWJ’s Ron Dewey reports the Dearborn native had little to say inside or outside the courtroom. Fakih’s attorney, W. Otis Culpepper, said his client isn’t happy about her current predicament.

“Of course she’s remorseful, I mean, you know, she’s a model for young women and she doesn’t want anybody to think that she’s less than a model American citizen, which she is. At the end of the day, all of this will show that she is a woman of substantial character,” said Culpepper.

Hours after her appearance in court, Fakih shared this message via Twitter: “Sometimes things appear to be going wrong, when in reality they are just being re-arranged for the right outcome!”

A report obtained by The Associated Press says the 26-year-old was accused of driving 60 mph in a 2011 Jaguar and weaving through traffic without using a signal when police apprehended her in the early morning hours of Dec. 3.

“She was stopped by the police and they determined that she had been operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. That’s the charge, that’s all I know that I can speak on at this point. That’s the charge that we’ll either defend against or resolve,” said Culpepper.

Police say they found an open bottle of champagne on the floor behind the driver’s seat and that Fakih’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

Culpepper would not comment on Fakih’s admission through her previous attorney that she was too inebriated to drive that evening, and pulled over after being spotted by police of Woodward Avenue.

Fakih was born in Lebanon and immigrated to Queens, New York in 1993. After graduating high school, Fakih moved to Dearborn in 2003. She won the Miss USA Pageant in May 2010 — the first Miss Michigan to win the title since 1993 and the first Arab-American winner ever.

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