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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Ommi

    He is a republican isn't he. Biggest hypocrite. If you're gay you're gay nothing wrong with that but just admit and stop hiding your face.

    September 10, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. WA

    Yeah Larry is no different from the rest of the Repugnants. And that's the problem, they just can't see themselves for what they truly are, disgusting. And there are people who want to vote them back into office! Astounding!

    September 10, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. big ed

    McCain Once Blamed Palin's Bridge for the MN Collapse
    We now know that the truth is that Slick Sarah Palin supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she "opposed" it.
    But did you know that the man responsible for foisting her on America blamed that bridge and Palin's hunger for federal pork for the collapse of the infamous August 2007 I-35 bridge collapse in Minnesota? Well, now you do.
    No wonder they're so sensitive about pig comments.

    September 10, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Typical Rethuglican


    September 10, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |

    VOTE REPUBLICAN and you folks, are on your own. NO BIG
    GOVERNMENT! Take your kids out of public schools, and send
    them to private schools if you don't like the quality of the education!!!

    Obama-Biden 2008 or we are screwed!!!!

    I love what Matt Damon said, "Padin terrifies me".

    September 10, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. Obamacan/McCant


    September 10, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |

    If a man pleads guilty,he is "guilty as charged".

    September 10, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Stacy

    Everybody keeps calling Palin a beauty queen! She isn't! She's a runner up. The winner of that pageant supports Obama!

    September 10, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. I sold it on eBay

    We don't need angry women in this campaign.

    Palin 2012

    Obviously you did not watch Palin's snarky, sarcastic, negative speech at the convention. The only thing that woman has going for her is negativitiy and anger

    September 10, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. Dodger873

    I always find it funny that republicans always cry foul when a republican commits a sexual no-no but when a democrat does something, it's considered fair game. Hypocrites!

    September 10, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Mr. and now Mrs. OBAMA keep talking bout helping and giving the tax cuts to 95 percent of Americans.

    This will not help when you remember that the TOP 5 percent of income earners have the MOST influence on the economy.

    THINK this is not real reasoning it's fantasy.

    How about helping ALL Americans.
    Say you will give tax cuts to ALL Americans and you many give me a reason to vote for you.

    BTW I am in the bottom quarter of wage earners.

    September 10, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Moe, NY

    Republicans tend to be corrupt, tell many lies, have that disease called Recallitis, and no matter what they are caught doing they can always put a spin on it....let's get rid of these jokers...VOTE DEMOCRAT come November. Wake up America!

    September 10, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Hey Matt,
    Don't think it was the "liberal government" that arrested Sen Craig in Minnesota...It must have been the same cops who arrested all those independent newspersons at the RNC! Just like the cops who busted all the veterans protesting at the RNC in Miami Fl when Nixon was running for Pres.

    September 10, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. Distraction

    DISGUSTING. Bathrooms are gross, filthy and not a place to meet someone.

    If the Republicans had any ethics, morals or sense they would have forced him out. Instead, they have embraced him.


    September 10, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. mike

    He exercised his right of free speech when he pled guilty. End of story.

    September 10, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. DJ Los Angeles

    Another Hypocrite Liar Republican bites the dust to join the ranks of fellow GOP criminals Duke Cunningham (currently in prison), former speaker Tom DeLay (awaiting trial), child molester Mark Foley, and Palin's fellow crony Senator Ted Stephens.

    September 10, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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