November 19th, 2013
05:09 PM ET
6 years ago

Congressman charged with cocaine possession

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Trey Radel is due in D.C. superior court Wednesday, charged with misdemeanor cocaine possession after an October 29 arrest, according to court documents.

The 37 year-old Florida Republican is serving his first term in Congress after winning office last November.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office said Tuesday that the charges come with a maximum 180 day imprisonment and/or $1,000 fine.

“I'm profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida," Radel said in a statement released by his office. "I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.”

“However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side. It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling. I know I have a problem and will do whatever is necessary to overcome it, hopefully setting an example for others struggling with this disease.”

Radel is a former journalist and TV news anchor.

"Members of Congress should be held to the highest standards, and the alleged crime will be handled by the courts," a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. "Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family, and his constituents."

–CNN's Deirdre Walsh, Alison Harding and Greg Seaby contributed to this report.

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (385 Responses)
  1. milguy

    The people who serve as the checks and balances for my CINC are allowed to engage in this type of behavior and remain at their post. I'm a lowly enlisted guy, and if I engaged in these activities, I would receive a bad-conduct discharge, lose all my benefits, not be allowed to vote...a man without a country. Tell me how this makes sense...sure, I aid in the prosecution of war, but only if these people tell me to.

    November 20, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. John

    He should be fired and get no retirement benifets and never be able to hold any office again. If you were in the Service that is what would happen. I know more than one person that got stupid and used drugs and got kicked out and no retirement. They think that they can say sorry and its ok.

    November 20, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  3. betterdays

    Hey, if it works for Canada, we should do it here. Nationalized health care, politicians abusing drugs, whatever...

    November 20, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. gaypsp

    They should call the Tea Party the Tweeker Party.

    November 20, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. Trip

    Another drug addled Teabagger...maybe he should move to Toronto were it's a more acceptable hobby.

    November 20, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. Tolisalisa

    "does anyone care if their local 7/11 clerk uses?"

    That must be you.

    November 20, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. Eeboy

    My issue with this, is that he won't be held to the same standard as say.. a military officer, who would be kicked out of the Armed Forces and jailed for such a charge.

    November 20, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. vinster76

    this will guarantee him a spot on Dr. Phi. I think there is a video out there of him partying with the Toronto Mayor, what's his name,? Chris Farley is it???? Oh wait, Chris passed away......

    November 20, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. barbra k

    Sad,sad,sad for our country. This is one of the persons who shut our country down. He may even be a tea party member. No wonder the tea party had no cares about shutting the government down, they probably all have an additional income.

    November 20, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. Chuck

    Drug testing for the house and senate. I bet we would bust at least 25% of them .

    November 20, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. gaypsp

    They should rename the Tea Party, the Tweeker Party.

    November 20, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. jonjojr

    He is the one that got caught. Because I can bet that 80% of these congressmen use cocaine.

    November 20, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  13. Eeboy

    "since when has possesion of cocaine been a misdemeanor?"

    Since it is a white politician and not "Leroy" in the hood.

    November 20, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. areyouforseriousmyboy

    Dude needs to resign.

    November 20, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. truthfulgiant

    Where are the indignant Republicans calling for him to quit? Oh yeah, they don't do that when it is a Republican, do they?

    November 20, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  16. danomite

    There's a positive side to a US Congressman, one who votes on laws dealing with punishing others for the same crime, being caught with cocaine?

    November 20, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  17. MeanOldMan

    If this was Obama or any democrat in senate or the house the screams for their removal from the right would be deafening but when it's one of their own....Total silence. The hypocrisy continues. Either drug test all of congress and the president or leave the people that are down on their luck and need welfare or food stamps alone also. One country, one law. Either test or don't but whichever should apply to all. We demand drug testing for anyone involved in public safety yet for our leaders who can do more to trash more lives than anyone else they get a free pass. Totally wrong headed thinking.

    November 20, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. Malory Archer

    Kman66 and the rthug/teabag todders are patheticly bitter bitter, and grasping at anything in order to defelct from their guy's CRIMINAL behavior. Yeah, this guy has a drug AND ALCOHOL problem that he refused to own up to UNTIL THRE WEEKS AFTER HE GOT CAUGHT, and ONLY because the media somehow caught wind of it after all this time! Attempting to defelct by blaming President Obama and the dems for trying to undo the damage wrought by the rethugs with their wholesale destruction of the American economy and middle class only reaffirms the lenghts your ilk is willing to go to in order to excuse your own!

    November 20, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  19. Shasta

    Disgusting! If he was an average Joe off the street, he would have served time! AMERICA wake up, Radel should be punished. Putting him on 1 YEAR PROBATION, really??? But guess what, he is not the only congressman doing crack, cocaine or whatever is out there...he just got CAUGHT!!!

    November 20, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  20. Alex

    A Republican approach to his punishment would be to put him in jail and throw away the key since substance abuse to a conservative is a sign weakness and unforgivable sin. However, in reality a lot of people struggle with substance abuse and just being in possession of cocaine (without the intent to sell it) is kinda minor. There is no reason someone should go to jail for this. Treatment perhaps, but not jail.

    However, I don't think a person with these issues should be working as a Congressman for either party until they are better.

    November 20, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  21. Intolerant of Intolerance

    "But, but, but I'm a Republican congressman. Laws don't apply to me!"

    November 20, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. Malory Archer


    This is exaclty how I want my tax dollars spent. Rehab for elected officials.


    They should be heavily fined, the vehicle they're driving at the time of their arrest should be confiscated, and they should spend EXTRA time in prison because THEY wrote the drug laws and should be held up as an example when they're caught. Considering any one of us on this thread would have been jailed, subject to asset forefeiture (before you even go to court – and if you manage to beat the rap, too bad, your car and its posessions have long been sold by the PD that busted you) and we'd spend the rest of our lives trying to pay fines, attorney fees and court costs on our new, much lower income because the decent job with decent wages will be history once your employer learn of your arrest.

    November 20, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  23. Malory Archer

    Pretty Ricky

    LoL, at all the libs crying for him to resign and saying there is no place for drugs in congress, yet their Idol Obama plainly stated he smoked pot, and used cocaine often.


    President Obama smoked and snorted IN THE PAST – AND HE WAS NEVER ARRESTED FOR POSSESSION! Can you say equivalence fail?

    November 20, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  24. steven

    his own admission that he is and alcoholic is enough to relieve him of his seat in the house...add to that his admitted cocaine use my books means that he should go as a many times has he voted on major bills while drunk????

    November 20, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. Malory Archer


    Come on he's from Florida, we all do coke here.


    No "we" don't, and the two people that I know who DO use are worthless individuals who are unable to keep a job and have lost their families and everything owned because they couldn't stay away from the nose candy. I also know a guy who snorted so much back in the 80s that he had to have his entire face rebuilt after his sinus cavities were eaten away by years of abuse.

    November 20, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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