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Appeals Court Asked to Toss Sen. Larry Craig’s Guilty Plea

Posted Sep 11, 2008 8:05 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A lawyer for Sen. Larry Craig said in oral arguments yesterday that his client should be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea to disorderly conduct after his arrest in a restroom sex sting.

Lawyer William Martin told the Minnesota Court of Appeals that the police complaint against his client lacked sufficient evidence, his conduct did not amount to disorderly conduct, and a judge had not reviewed the factual basis for the plea, the New York Times reports.

Presiding judge Natalie Hudson countered that the complaint had lots of details. They included a description of how Craig’s fingers were fidgeting as he waited for a men’s room stall, how he looked twice through a crack between the stall door and frame, and how he peered so intently that an undercover policeman could see that the senator had blue eyes.

Martin said other facts were missing. “We don’t know how long the crack is, how big the crack is,” he said. “We don’t know” whether Craig simply glanced twice at the crack “or if it was continuous staring.”

Craig was accused of entering the next stall when it opened, then tapping his foot and waving his hand under the partition of the stall occupied by the undercover cop. Martin said that Craig’s behavior in the restroom “has not tipped the balance to guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

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