September 2nd, 2007
11:55 AM ET
6 years ago

GOP Senator: Craig should withdraw resignation

Senator Larry Craig, R-Idaho

(CNN)–The ranking Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee says Idaho Senator Larry Craig should seek to withdraw his guilty plea, and possibly his resignation from the Senate.

"I'd like to see Larry Craig go back to court, seek to withdraw his guilty plea and fight the case," Senator Arlen Specter said on 'Fox News Sunday'. Drawing on his earlier experience as District Attorney of Philadelphia, Specter said, "On the evidence Senator Craig wouldn't be convicted of anything. And he's got his life on the line and 27 years in the House and Senate, and I'd like to see him fight the case because I think he could be vindicated."

Specter also said it was not too late for Craig to change the status of his resignation.

"He said he intends to resign. When you have a statement of intent to resign that intent could change," he said. "And if he could change the underlying sense of the case, feel of the case."

"Listen you can go to court and withdraw a guilty plea, of course disorderly conduct is not moral turpitude," Specter said. If he went to trial "he wouldn't be convicted of anything. And if he went to court, was acquitted, all of this hullabaloo would have no basis."

Speaking on the same show, Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Specter raised a good point. "From a legal point of view he makes a very good point," Leahy said. "Now from a political point of view I don't pretend to know what Idaho politics are or how they might be, but Senator Specter has laid out as strong a legal case as I've heard."

Craig announced his resignation from the Senate on Saturday effective September 30, following the disclosure of his arrest in June for disorderly conduct in a restroom at the Minneapolis airport.

- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Larry Craig
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Patrick, Winston-Salem, NC

    I fully support this idea. I can't think of a single thing that would be more entertaining than a televised trial where Sen. Craig is asked "Senator, can you explain how you managed to 'accidentally' complete a complex, subtle, and decades-old signal that indicates you're willing to commit anonymous toilet sodomy while you just happened to be in a toilet that just happens to be known as a great place to give or receive anonymous toilet sodomy?"

    September 2, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. R1G, Raleigh, NC

    I guess I'm too naive to know all these airport signs (and rest stop signs, etc) so when I listened to the transcript, it seemed to draw a long conclusion out of rather flimsy "evidence" .. but I have one question I have not seen the facts of: Did Senator Craig have any legitimate business at the airport on this date and time? (Somehow if he was catching a flight, or returning home and stopped to use the restroom it seems more potentially trumped up than if he hadn't been on a flight in the last 4 hours and just happened to be "in the neighborhood" so to speak) .. anyone know?

    September 2, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. Juanito, Washington, DC

    I hope Craig rescinds his resignation and remains in the Senate....that will only help the

    September 2, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. Dave, Salt Lake City, Utah

    It's truly refreshing to see that there's one Republican with some backbone (Specter) who hasn't succumbed to the rest of his party's rampant homophobia.

    But I think Specter is ultimately wrong about Craig – he had two months to think about the charge before he pled guilty, he contacted the Minneapolis airport police to get a contact for his lawyer to call (but apparently Craig then never spoke to a lawyer before entering his plea) – and under those circumstances I think it would be difficult to convince a judge to allow Craig to withdraw his plea.

    Under Minnesota law Craig would apparently have to prove that his plea was not "accurate, voluntary, or intelligent" or that allowing him to withdraw the plea would correct a "manifest injustice" – and only the first of these (accuracy) seems even remotely in play here. So long as there was an adequate factual basis for the plea, the plea would be considered accurate and there's no manifest injustice to be corrected. And the statement of the undercover officer would appear to provide all the factual basis necessary for the charged crime of disorderly conduct.

    September 2, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. David, Salinas, CA

    I disagree with Senator Specter on many issues, but he has tremendous political courage and he’s right on this one. (Note that Mitt Romney doesn’t have the guts to stand up for his friend in a time of need). We need to stop hounding our political leaders (of either party or sexual identity) out of office over minor personal indiscretions and let them do their jobs.

    Of course that’s not going to happen here, because the Republican leadership wants to put this embarrassment behind them and get back to the hypocritical homophobic pandering they do so well.

    September 2, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. Mrs. America

    I noticed the "intent" word and the delayed intended date of departure. Who knows what he's up to. All I can say is that the guy is a liar. He's already proved that. There can't be one truth to the judge and another truth to the American people.

    September 2, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. Rob A., Eden Prairie, MN

    Specter really should just shut up. Then again, I've never had any respect for him sense the horrible way he treated Anita Hill. Horrible!

    Obviously Craig knows a lot more about what went down in those restroom stalls than Specter does, don't ya think?

    September 2, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    He has an uphill battle to plead not guilty now.

    Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure require a defendant to show a "manifest injustice" to withdraw a guilty plea, and that is so hard to do.

    He's going to have to try to convince the judge he didn't know what he was doing. I think that would be difficult for a person in his position, to say I didn't understand the legal system.

    Even if the judge allows Craig to withdraw his plea, the prosecutor can re-file the gross misdemeanor charge that was dismissed. Taking the case to trial would just create more bad publicity for him and for the republican party in the upcomg election year.

    He is history politically and should fade away in his retirement years.

    September 2, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. Don Scott, Calistoga CA

    Fight 'em, Larry. Don't let this stop your long distinguished career of gay-bashing, Clinton-hating, and environmntal smashing. A guy with a wide stance who likes to pick up paper from the bathroom floor doesn't desrve this kind of treatment.

    September 2, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Tom Boerum, Carlsbad California

    $ 90,000 hidden in a freezer, drunk driving, prostituion, playing footsies in a male bathroom at an airport. Our government officials are humans and no better than the people they represent. Law enforcement should take care of the law breakers and the voters take care of who is allowed to remain in office. Why then pick on just one or two of them to ask to resign and not the whole bunch? I bet if I conducted an investigation into the rest of the members of the Senate and Congress I could come up with a lot of dirt. So why pick on Craig? I think our elected officials better watch their backs because you just don't know which one of their collegues will be around to put a knife in it! Democracy at its makes me sick!

    September 2, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Bruce Hoffman, SLidell, LA

    I find the GOP very interesting and very Rush Limbaughish. When they do something wrong its a minor distraction, but when the President has a fling with a willing adult subordinate, all the conservative right wing Rushboos rush to get rid of the bum.
    So what is it? Family values to get the vote, but no family values to live by?
    Stay where you are Senator. Maybe you shouldn't have written New Orleans off and took a trip down there. The gay community would have welcomed you with open arms or whatever..........

    September 2, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. Paul Daniel Eugene Oregon

    I think the Senator was set up and is not guilty .I personally am opposed to him politically and would like to see one less gop in the Senate .That said i do not think he should be brought down by media slime,i listened to the tape and feel he is telling the truth!

    September 2, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Andrew, Clemson, SC

    In reading up on just what these crusing signals are and what makes them so obvious, I found that they are done in such a way that intent and behavior cannot be misinterpreted: double and triple confirmations are part of the procedure. It would have been perfectly clear to the policeman what Craig was up to.

    September 2, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. Caren

    PLEASE don't resign Senator Craig. We Democrats need you for next year.

    September 2, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. Judy Yaman Canton Ohio

    I agree 100%!

    September 2, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. anon, new york, NY

    Specter tries to suggest to "un-ring a bell" is silly, and demonstrates his lack of judgement!

    Why Specter was silent earlier last week when Craig's trouble surfaced?

    Specter reminds of some hyprocrites in a funeral home, who try to say good things about a dispicable deceased person in the coffin.

    September 2, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Bao Tran

    I strongly agree with Sen Specter even though I am a Democrat and criminologist from a democractic state of California. The case clearly recorded no substantive nor convincing legal evidentiary values to convict anyone of "lewd or even public homosexual conducts" (??) but a case of a skillfully tricky cop out to prey and trap innocent citizens with evasive tactics and classic interrogatory indimidations upon persons with surprisingly weak character such as Sen Craig. This case clearly convicts Sen Craig of a misdemeanor in foolishness and a felony in bad understanding of such basic legal issue of accepting a guilty plea under duress.

    And, to resign under pressure of other Republican leaders – naturally in the face of an upcoming presidential election year – again confirms such mental weakness of a man on that toilet seat that day.

    September 2, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. Arne P. Ryason, Hailey, Idaho

    Larry Craig's (and all other politician's) biggest crime is 27 years in politics. That's way too long. Someone should serve one term and then get their real job back. Years in power breeds corruption. No one should aspire to a career in politics, but everyone should be prepared to serve their country in a temporary leadership role, making or changing the laws they have to live under once they leave office. Political candidates should be drafted from the general population. That population should be taught how to serve in a public office while in school.

    September 2, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. Neil Bob

    Now that Craig has Michael Vick's attorney, maybe he can share a cell with Vick.

    September 2, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. Joe Konn

    If you have read the transcript of the arresting officer, there is no question what Craig was up to. Well-educated, powerful men are very unlikely to plead guilty to crimes they have not committed. Lets move on. Joe Konn, Berkeley CA

    September 2, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. diego, san antonio, texas

    Larry Craig pleaded guilty because he is guilty of disgusting, kinky behavior. But Specter wants Craig to change his plea and continue to serve as senator. Another lifetime politician, Patrick Leahy, also agreed with Spector. This arrogance is typical of old politicians who more and more put themselves above the law. How stupid do these idiots think we Americans are?

    September 2, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Charlotte, Boston MA

    Larry Craig for President 08!

    September 2, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. timbuck, houston, texas

    Well, Senator Specter, there is something called "evidence" and I'm sure in this case (and in the Abramoff, Delay, Vitter cases, and many others), your party can't stomach the truth that evidence shows.

    September 2, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. steele Providence RI

    Craig's plea was 'guilty'.
    He was told he could NOT withdraw the plea.
    How can Spector suggest that Craig circumvent a legal process?
    *****VOTE DEMOCRAT*****

    September 2, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. Matt, Chico, CA

    I like how all the Democrats on this board can only post that they want Craig to stay so it will help their odds. Maybe he should stay because he is a good Senator? Or maybe he should leave because this has turned into one of the largest distractions of the year?

    September 2, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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