Diplomatic Inanity

Fake "diplomat" claimed immunity during traffic stop

By P.J. Orvetti
|  Friday, Oct 8, 2010  |  Updated 2:10 PM EDT
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Diplomatic Inanity

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It sounds like the stuff of a straight-to-DVD movie, or at least that “Simpsons” episode where Bart drives to Knoxville.

Last fall, American University student Nicholas Marino was pulled over for speeding on 15th Street in northwest Washington. He claimed diplomatic immunity, saying he was an Italian diplomat.

As the Washington Post’s Spencer Hsu reports, Marino had paid a Georgia novelty store “to make two fake diplomatic license plates using the country code for Italy,” and had “stuck a copied State Department seal on the back of his license.” The fake tags were not registered to Marino’s car -- which had no current registration at all -- and Marino’s license was suspended at the time.

Marino didn’t kill anybody while driving drunk through the city at 80 mph, or try to seduce a teenager who turned out to be a cop, or crack a joke about trying to lighting his shoe on fire on board an airplane -- those are the sorts of things only real diplomats try to get away with -- but as Marino admitted in court, his actions were pretty foolish.

Marino was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation, a six-month curfew, and 240 hours of community service.

Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC


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