Criminal Justice

Senator Recants Restroom Plea

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A U.S. senator who recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge that arose from a Minneapolis airport restroom sting operation is now recanting.

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) says he acted in haste, fearful that news of the incident would tarnish his reputation and hoping simply to put it behind him, reports the Washington Post. In a news conference today in Boise, the senator says he has now hired a lawyer to review his plea, apparently seeking to reopen the case and fight the charge. Craig also contended he was falsely accused of making sexual advances to a male undercover officer, and is not gay. He was fined $500 and received one year of probation in the Minnesota case.

Indeed, Craig’s concerns about adverse publicity apparently were justified: Now that word of his plea is out, members of his own party are spearheading a call for a Senate investigation.

“Due to the reported and disputed circumstances, and the legal resolution of this serious case, we will recommend that Senator Craig’s incident be reported to the Senate Ethics Committee for its review. In the meantime, leadership is examining other aspects of the case to determine if additional action is required,” wrote Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and three other GOP leaders in a joint statement.

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