Larry Craig to Challenge Guilty Plea and Blames Press for It

Idaho Senator Larry Craig will attempt to withdraw his guilty plea in court and blames the press for pressuring him to make it, says William Martin, Craig’s attorney.

Larrycraigmugshot“Persuading a judge to withdraw a guilty plea is difficult but Craig will argue that he was under too much stress to knowingly plead guilty, Martin said. ‘He was under tremendous pressure,’ Martin said in a telephone interview. In particular, Martin cited pressure from Craig’s hometown newspaper, the Idaho Statesman, which spent months investigating whether Craig engaged in homosexual encounters. Craig, who has denied such suggestions and accused the newspaper of conducting a ‘witch hunt,’ was so concerned about that investigation, he quickly pleaded guilty when arrested in the bathroom sex sting, Martin said. Craig did not consult with a lawyer or appear in court. He figured, ‘I’m innocent but if this will make it go away I’ll do it,’ Martin said.

Martin told the Today show that he’ll file court documents on Monday challenging the plea:

“Martin said Monday that Craig did not ‘knowingly and intelligently enter a guilty plea.’ The senator simply admitted conduct that ‘itself does not constitute a crime,’ Martin said. ‘He admits to going into the bathroom, he admits to moving his foot, he admits to reaching his hand down,’ Martin said on NBC’s ‘Today’ show. ‘That’s not a crime.'”

And in related news, the New York Times reports today: “Police and court files indicate that Mr. Craig’s case may have been handled more harshly than some of the others. For instance, he alone among the 40 men arrested (at the Minneapolis airport in a three-month period over the summer) was charged with both disorderly conduct and interference with privacy. The other men were charged with one or the other, or with indecent exposure or loitering. Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for the airport and the law firm it hired to prosecute the cases, said Mr. Craig was the only man charged with two offenses because he had peered into the police officer’s stall and had used unspoken signals — foot tapping and hand motions — known as ways to solicit restroom sex.”

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