September 10th, 2008
04:42 PM ET
6 years ago

Foot tapping protected by First Amendment, Craig's lawyer says

Craig's attorney said foot tapping may be protected by the First Amendment.
Craig's attorney said foot tapping may be protected by the First Amendment.

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – In an effort to persuade a three-judge panel to throw out Sen. Larry Craig's guilty plea, his attorney suggested Wednesday that his foot tapping in an airport men's room may have been protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

The Idaho Republican was arrested in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in June 2007, after an undercover police officer accused him of soliciting sex by using hand signals and tapping his foot in a bathroom stall.

Two months after his arrest, and without consulting a lawyer, Craig later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

In addition to suggesting that First Amendment may be involved, Craig's lawyer, Billy Martin, also argued before the Minnesota Court of Appeals panel that no one besides the arresting officer saw the hand signals and foot tapping, which would mean no one else was offended by the behavior and, thus, make the disorderly conduct charge invalid.

Martin also suggested that the judge who previously heard Craig's case had mishandled his attempt to have his guilty plea thrown out.

Prosecuting attorney Chris Renz dismissed the idea that Craig's foot tapping was covered by the First Amendment, arguing that no one but the officer in the adjoining stall could have heard the tapping.
In February, the Senate Ethics Committee issued a "letter of admonition" to Craig in connection to the case.

In the letter, the committee accused him of improper conduct and said his actions reflected "discreditably" on the chamber.

The committee also criticized Craig for using more than $200,000 from campaign funds to pay legal fees related to his case and for flashing his Senate business card at the officer who arrested him. The letter said that move could be seen as an improper attempt to receive "special and favorable treatment."

Craig initially said he would resign after the incident was reported in the media but later decided to remain in the Senate and fight to have his guilty plea thrown out. But the three-term senator did not seek re-election this year and will retire when his term ends in January.


Filed under: Larry Craig
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Same Old Tricks

    Foot tapping is protected:

    Not if it's a signal for illegal acts.

    This guy thinks we're stupid. His pension should be take away.

    September 10, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. Abby

    Another ‘family values’ republican? LOL

    September 10, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Was Craig wearing $500 shoes?

    September 10, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. TONY

    He's a republican. A closeted gay man (not that there is anything wrong with being gay), who has dragged his family into his sordid sex lief, lied about it and continues to lie about it.

    TYPICAL REPUBLICAN HYPOCRISY! Never, ever changes.

    September 10, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. James

    I thought foot tapping was a moose hunting signal to shoot or is it a signal to shoot a wolf out of a plane?

    Could someone double check with Palin?

    Just make sure to check her home in Wasila where she charges the tax payers of Alaska to stay in her own house.

    September 10, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. A NATION OF WINERS

    THE SCUM BAG WAS TAPING HIS FOOT

    AS FOREPLAY TO OTHER TAPPINGS.

    September 10, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    larry, just give it up and be YOURSELF!!!

    your life will be so much happier and msoother if you just get away from the vile hypocritical republican party, and come OUT of the closet. you're wasting too much energy and life fighting this.

    September 10, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Spencer from VA

    The Idaho republican pervert. One of John McCain's buddies.

    September 10, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. TONY

    FOOT TAPPING at someone else in a public bathroom stall is now covered by the First Amendment??????

    America is fast becoming a third-world country!

    September 10, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Dave G

    This just goes to show that most politicians think they are above the law.

    September 10, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. CNN = Certainly Not News

    This is not news CNN. This has been a horrible day to blog. First you close down all of the posts at one time, and then you put stupid items on the board. So today we've had lipstick, pigs, rent evasions and now foot tapping. Anything else stupid that's going on in politics?

    Jeesh, we're fighting two wars, where's the substance?

    September 10, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. kevin

    Hey what a great time for Larry Craig to come back into the public mindset!!

    September 10, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Kel in Auburn, AL

    Bizarre? Yes. News? Doubtful.

    Funny though!

    September 10, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Accountant Guy

    Another good example of Republicans!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    I see the arresting officer's name isn't being continuosly dragged through the mud.

    Americans who believe in civil liberty (you know innocent until proven guilty)–and that police officers exceed boundaries at times-should send this one a hand signal too.

    September 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Joseph

    The First Amendment does not apply to Republicans any longer. We need to bring America together and stop all the disagreements. Vote Obama/Biden 2008. We need a new Constitution of the United States of Obama for a new era of freedom.

    Ban all Republicans.

    September 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. Stupid Larry Craig

    Don't tell me about Larry Craig unless he's going to jail or we're cutting off his pension.

    September 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. Barbara Chicago, IL

    LOL throw him in jail where he belongs. He's digusting

    September 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. John

    haha...so much for family values candidate. Disgrace to America

    September 10, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    and because Jason Bourne is 'terrified' we should be too???

    September 10, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. inuk of the north

    Oh yeah............he was tapping out a morse code...............that's right........a morse code.........um..........'cuz...........um................he needed some toilet paper................right?

    Some lawyer he's got.

    September 10, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. Unempressed

    Abuse of power... tempers, bad days... who knows

    September 10, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. redneck for obama

    what about the fingers slide!? lol!

    September 10, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. Mel

    Ridiculous! Retire already, you old fart. You have lost all credibility and the people you represent deserve better.

    September 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. Silence Dogood

    After the foot tapping article and the actor Matt predicting the future article, a presidential candidate who thinks he is God might make sense.

    NOT!

    NoZerObama. I prefer reality, thanks.

    September 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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