Thompson responded Sunday to reports of his adviser's criminal past.
(CNN)- A Republican presidential hopeful stood by a campaign adviser Sunday after it was revealed that person had a past drug conviction.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that Philip Martin, a businessman who serves as a co-chairman for former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson's campaign, entered a guilty plea to the sale of 11 pounds of marijuana in 1979. According to the Post, the court withheld judgment pending completion of his probation.
On Sunday, Thompson said he was unaware of the situation before the report.
"I wish I had known about it a little earlier," Thompson said to reporters before his appearance on NBC's 'Meet the Press.' "Phil I'm sure knows that he should have told me about this, but he thought it was over and done with and forgotten about I’m sure. But of course nothing is ever over and done with and forgotten about in this business."
The Post went on to say that Martin was charged in 1983 with violating his probation, along with multiple counts of felony bookmaking, cocaine trafficking and conspiracy. The newspaper said Martin pleaded no contest to cocaine-trafficking and conspiracy charges, which were part of a plan to sell $30,000 worth of cocaine, and was continued on probation.
"I know him to be a good man," Thompson said on Sunday. "I know him to be a man who has rehabilitated himself and led a productive life. He's my friend. He's gonna remain my friend."
As for Martin's future role with the campaign, Thompson said that has not been decided.
"You know, what I do about it after I talk to him with regard to the future we'll just have to see, sit down and work out, and do the right thing to a fellow who is a friend., but who is now on the front page of the Washington Post."
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- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford