September 25th, 2007
01:35 PM ET
16 years ago

No Minnesota trip for Craig

Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Minnesota judge will be hearing Sen. Larry Craig's petition to overturn his guilty plea on a disorderly conduct charge in Minneapolis Wednesday, but Craig will not be at the hearing.

"I have been advised not to. I will not be attending," Craig, R-Idaho, told CNN.

He was arrested June 11 during a police sting in an airport men's room for allegedly making sexual overtures to an undercover male police officer. He entered a written guilty plea to the disorderly conduct charge in August.

In his petition to vacate the plea, Craig's attorney maintained the senator's "panic" over the possibility that the allegations would be made public drove him to accept a guilty plea without seeking legal advice and that he had been assured by the arresting officer that the matter would remain private.

A spokeswoman for the 4th Judicial District told CNN the court has not yet gotten any word from the senator's attorneys as to whether he will attend.

The Minnesota prosecutor who handled the disorderly conduct case against Craig said that the Idaho Republican was "calm" and "methodical" as they discussed his entering a guilty plea and that Craig was warned his case would be a matter of public record.

In an affidavit filed Monday in Hennepin County District Court, prosecutor Christopher Renz also said he advised Craig to consult an attorney before entering a written guilty plea - advice the senator did not take. Between his June arrest and August guilty plea, Craig also turned up in person at the offices of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport police, seeking contact information "so his lawyer can speak to someone," according to a report filed by an officer who talked to Craig.

The officer, Adam Snedker, said in a police report that the senator appeared "agitated and demeaning" during their June 22 conversation. The report was included in Monday's court filing by prosecutors opposing Craig's petition
to overturn his guilty plea.

In the wake of the allegations, Craig - who has denied any wrongdoing and insists he is not gay - announced that he would resign from the Senate. However, he later told Senate leaders that he might remain in office if his plea is overturned.

- CNN's Dana Bash, Ted Barrett and David Steck

Filed under: Larry Craig
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Nathan

    This is just too much! What a disgrace for himself. It shows our political leaders will stop at nothing to use their positions and retain power. He is making a mockery of our judicial system.

    September 25, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. roger, conway sc

    I just love it....all of you right wing-christian conservatives- hypocritical republicans who had the nerve to ridicule Bill Clinton, (I agree he was wrong)are getting some of your own medicine for being so judgemental & holier than thou...what goes around comes around...BUT Craig does not want to give up...the folk in Idaho must have blinders on or live a real sheltered life...this man is quilty as heck....

    September 25, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. John, Blue Springs, Mo.

    The congressman was advised to talk to an attorney before making his plea. There is no reason to open this case.

    September 25, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  4. steve, barstow, california

    Would he just stop stooping in the sewer he created and flush himself into a good treatment plant or spa. He needs to get mental health help.
    I suppose in his denial having the gall to say he is a victim and then fighting the system he abuses with what ever power he can muster, allows many more citizens to distrust the elected.

    September 25, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. Terry King, Moses Lake, Wa

    Here is our chance to see if the justice system is just. I recall hearing something about "Ignorance is not an excuse..." If a lawmaker can play dumb (sorry it might not be an act) and have his charges reversed then law means nothing.

    September 25, 2007 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Motion denied. Per curiam.

    September 25, 2007 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. p-brain, Bucyrus, OH

    Let the spin begin.

    September 25, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. max from minnesota

    We in Minnesota are gratful Larry Craig is not returning here. He pleaded guilty, already been sentenced and paid a fine, it's over.

    So please Senator Craig don't go away mad just go away.

    And what is it with Republicans and mens bathrooms, please have a little class in the future and rent a motel for your lovefests.

    September 25, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    I hope at least one news organization takes a bathroom exit poll in Minnesota on Wednesday.

    The GOP desparately needs to know if bathroom use is above or below average now that Senator Craig is not attending his hearing.

    It will help Republicans focus their campaign.

    September 25, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Russ, Albuquerque NM

    I believe the officer told him that he was not in the habit of talking about arrests to the press, or something along those lines. So the officer was not going to go public; but EVERYONE knows that the police blotter is a matter of public record. How did this fool get elected in the first place?

    September 25, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. r sisk, nevada

    I am thrilled with Larry Craig's abuse of power and trying to manipulate the law. I hope he succeeds. People are waking up to the Republican Party's corruption and hypocritical ways. Larry just fuels the fire!!!!

    September 25, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. John Johnson, St. Paul, MN.

    This is all so ridiculous – too bad he can’t be billed for wasting the time and resources of the court after they deny his appeal. My only hope is they find some excuse to drag this out for oh . . . say 12 months. That way he can hang twisting in the wind like the Gitmo detainees and learn the meaning of the saw that says “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”. Only thing is here it will be justice delayed for the rest of the world. Then come October 2008 they can issue their ruling slamming him and Voila! Another Republican Scandal, albeit reheated leftovers, will be served up piping hot and steaming, just in time for the Elections in November 2008. Keep up the Good Work Senator Craig!

    September 25, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. Sully, Chapel Hill NC

    Larry Craig: poster child for the Republican Party. He an Vitter should run for the presidential nomination. I'll bet Craig would let Vitter be "on the top" of the ticket!

    September 25, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. Chris, Sacramento, CA

    If his his conviction is not overturned, what do you think his excuse will be? Alcoholism? Molested as a child? Both? or will he just deny it until his dying day?
    It makes me laugh when people say he's a victim of a liberal witch hunt. These guys are so stupid with hornyness that no one has to do much to figure out the truth. All the BS you Republicans put this country through because of your obsession with Clinton's manhood is now biting you in the a men's bathroom stall! I love it.

    September 25, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Paul, Austin TX

    Has he announced yet that he is going into "rehab"?

    September 25, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    I might even like the creep if he'd been caught trolling in the boy's room at a Republican Convention.

    September 25, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Alan, San Angelo TX

    This way Larry avoids having his picture taken outside the famous men's room by the "popperazzi". Smile Senator Craig!

    September 25, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  18. Jim

    A first year law student could have beat the original charges against Craig with out breaking a sweat. Craig's behaviour after his arrest showed a very guilty conscience. He doesn't want to win. He wants to say "I fought and got screwed." Then he will go away.

    September 25, 2007 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. frank Honolulu HI

    Shame on you Larry Craig for trying to find sex in a public bathroom and for thinking we're all stupid.

    September 25, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Sam, Minneapolis, MN

    As easy as it is to pile up on Larry Craig (and I do think that he's been incredibly hypocritical if he's a closeted gay), I find it deplorable that our police in Minneapolis have nothing better to do than troll the bathrooms at our airport.

    On the left, Frank Rich of The New York Times has so eloquently pointed out that "He didn't have sex in a public place. He didn't expose himself."

    On the right, George Will has said that if someone is "signaling an interest in sex," then the same crime "goes on in 10,000 bars every Saturday night in our country."

    While everyone seems to be gleefully heaping on the hypocricy bandwagon, they should also be equally outraged that police in 2007 are still trying to entrap people for consensual sexual activity whether they've had it or not.

    September 25, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. Mike C., Sandy Hook, CT

    Personally, I think he blew it.

    September 25, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  22. Raymond, El Paso TX

    Ahmadinejad – "There are no gays in my country"

    Larry – "I am not gay"

    These two would really get along!

    September 25, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  23. r. james

    Idiot of the first loser kind......this guy is out for sure........

    September 26, 2007 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  24. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Oh, Larry, take it like a man (or maybe you already did?)

    September 26, 2007 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  25. Terry, El Paso, TX

    "In his petition to vacate the plea, Craig's attorney maintained the senator's "panic" over the possibility that the allegations would be made public drove him to accept a guilty plea without seeking legal advice and that he had been assured by the arresting officer that the matter would remain private."

    Craig is a guy who WRITES laws. How can he claim now that he was in a panic, unaware of his rights, and so unfamiliar with the legal process that he imagined his guilty plea and conviction would not become part of the public record?

    I pled guilty to running a red light a couple of weeks ago. I did run the red light – not on purpose but because I was inattentive for a moment. I figured that since I was guilty I should plead guilty. It would not occur to me now to return to that judge and argue that I didn't understand my rights and I didn't know that the insurance company would learn of my conviction and raise the price of my car insurance.

    The voters of Idaho must surely be embarrassed by the man they elected. Even if he was not hitting on that cop and even if he had never done it before (which I do not believe for a second), his post-conviction behavior has been idiotic. Not that my home state, which gave the nation Tom Delay and George Bush (not the good one, the other one), has any right to look down on Idaho's electorate.

    September 27, 2007 11:09 am at 11:09 am |