Raj Bhakta asks for "forgiveness and understanding" for past behavior

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 03, 2006 07:00 AM

Bowtie-wearing former Apprentice contestant Raj Bhakta has admitted he’s been arrested twice in the past on drunken driving charges.

The 30-year-old real-estate entrepreneur, who was fired by Donald Trump during the second season of the NBC reality show, has confirmed the authenticity of a June 1997 arrest report posted on the Smoking Gun Web site. He also disclosed that he had a second such arrest in Colorado, reports the Associated Press.

Bhakta, currently running for Congress in suburban Philadelphia as a Republican challenger to Democratic U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

“Politicians today need to come clean,” Bhakta told the AP, saying he was ashamed of his “irresponsible” actions. “I ask for the forgiveness and understanding of the voters, while giving them my solemn pledge that this behavior will not happen again.”

The 1997 report said Bhakta was arrested in Brookline, Mass., after an officer stopped him for lack of a license plate. He agreed to undergo an alcohol-education program and pay a $35 fine, the Smoking Gun says.

The second arrest occurred in 2004, when Bhakta lived in Vail, Colo. He would not discuss details but said the case was dismissed.

His opponent, Schwartz, had no comment.