Craig says 'I am not gay,' did no wrong By TODD DVORAK, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 3 minutes ago
BOISE, Idaho - A defiant Sen. Larry Craig denied any wrongdoing Tuesday despite his guilty plea this summer in a men's room police sting, emphatically adding, "I am not gay. I never have been gay."
Craig, a third-term senator from Idaho, proclaimed his innocence as well as his sexuality less than an hour after Senate leaders from his own Republican Party called for an ethics committee review of his case.
"This is a serious matter," they said in Washington in a written statement that offered neither support nor criticism of the conservative senator. Issued in the names of Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the party leader, and several others, the statement said they were examining "other aspects of the case to determine if additional action is required."
Craig, his wife, Suzanne, at his side, took no questions in a brief appearance in the capital city of the state he has represented in Congress for more than two decades in the House and then the Senate.
He had "overreacted and made a poor decision" when he was apprehended by an undercover police officer in a men's room at the Minneapolis airport and later pleaded guilty.
"While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct in the Minneapolis Airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away." He said he kept the information from his friends, family and staff, adding, "I wasn't eager to share this failure but I should have anyway because I am not gay."
Nor did he hire a lawyer, Craig said, although he now has retained counsel "to review the matter and advise me on how to proceed."
"I have brought a cloud over Idaho and for that I seek and ask the people of Idaho to forgive me," he said.
His account contrasted sharply with the complaint in the case, in which an undercover officer said that Craig, while occupying a stall in the men's room, engaged in actions "often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct."
Craig was read his rights, fingerprinted and required to submit to a mug shot at the time of his arrest.
Police notes also show that on June 22, 11 days after the arrest, Craig returned to the police station and said no one had yet contacted him about his case. "Craig told me that he needs a contact so his lawyer can speak to someone," wrote the officer who spoke with the senator, Adam Snedker.
The senator signed and dated his guilty plea to a charge of disorderly conduct on Aug. 1, and court papers indicate it was submitted by mail and filed a week later. The court docket said Craig paid $575 in fines and fees and was put on unsupervised probation for a year. A sentence of 10 days in the county workhouse was stayed.
Craig, up for re-election next year, said he would announce his plans next month. If anything, he sounded like a man inclined to seek six more years in the Senate.
"Over the years, I have accomplished a lot for Idaho, and I hope Idahoans will allow me to continue to do that," he said.
Still, there already was speculation about a successor in the reliably Republican state. The Club for Growth, an anti-tax organization, issued a statement critical of Rep. Mike Simpson, whose name has been mentioned as a potential replacement candidate.
Regardless of Craig's plans, it was clear his political standing had suffered.
On Monday, he resigned from a prominent role with Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, and the GOP White House hopeful was critical in an interview.
"He's disappointed the American people," Romney said on CNBC's "Kudlow & Company."
"Yeah, I think it reminds us of Mark Foley and Bill Clinton," he added. Foley was a a Florida congressman who sent salacious e-mails to underage male House pages. Clinton, the former president, was impeached by the House and acquitted in the Senate after his dalliance with a White House intern.
Another Republican running for president, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, distanced himself from Craig and his guilty plea. "It's disgraceful," McCain told host Jay Leno during a taping of NBC's "The Tonight Show" for broadcast Tuesday night. "It harms our reputation with the American people."
Craig, 62, has faced rumors about his sexuality since the 1980s, but allegations that he had engaged in gay sex have never been substantiated. He has denied the assertions.
Trying to put his actions "in context," Craig lashed out at the Idaho Statesman, the state's largest newspaper, accusing it of carrying out a witch hunt. The newspaper on Tuesday published a lengthy story detailing allegations of homosexual behavior by Craig, which the story said the senator denied.
"We didn't print anything until the senator pleaded guilty," the managing editor of the Idaho Statesman, Bill Manny, said in a statement issued after Craig spoke. "Our story outlined what we've done and it speaks for itself."
The GOP Senate leaders did not say what other actions they were considering in connection with Craig.
Separately, a private group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a complaint with the ethics committee seeking an investigation into whether Craig violated Senate rules by engaging in disorderly conduct.
The official police complaint on Craig's case was detailed.
It said airport police Sgt. Dave Karsnia, who was investigating allegations of sexual conduct in airport restrooms, went into a stall shortly after noon on June 11 and closed the door.
Minutes later, the officer said he saw Craig gazing into his stall through the crack between the door and the frame.
After a man in the adjacent stall left, Craig entered it and put his roller bag against the front of the stall door, "which Sgt. Karsnia's experience has indicated is used to attempt to conceal sexual conduct by blocking the view from the front of the stall," said the complaint, which was dated June 25.
The complaint said Craig then tapped his right foot several times and moved it closer to Karsnia's stall and then moved it to where it touched Karsnia's foot. Karsnia recognized that "as a signal often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct," the complaint said.
Craig then passed his left hand under the stall divider into Karsnia's stall with his palm up and guided it along the divider toward the front of the stall three times, the complaint said.
The officer then showed his police identification under the divider and pointed toward the exit "at which time the defendant exclaimed `No!'" the complaint said.
The Aug. 8 police report says Craig handed the arresting officer a business card that identified him as a member of the Senate.
"What do you think about that?" Craig is alleged to have said, according to the report.
Last edited by BlueAngel : 04-09-2015 at 06:09 PM.
GOP officials: Craig to resign Saturday By JOHN MILLER and MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press Writers
6 minutes ago
BOISE, Idaho - Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig will resign from the Senate amid a furor over his arrest and guilty plea in a police sex sting in an airport men's room, Republican officials said Friday.
Craig will announce at a news conference in Boise Saturday morning that he will resign effective Sept. 30, four state GOP officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The announcement follows by just five days the disclosure that he had pleaded guilty Aug. 1 to a reduced misdemeanor charge arising out of his arrest June 11 at the Minneapolis airport.
The three-term Republican senator had maintained that he did nothing wrong except for making the guilty plea without consulting a lawyer. But he found almost no support among Republicans in his home state or Washington.
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter appeared Friday to have already settled on a successor: Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, according to several Republicans familiar with internal deliberations.
Craig's spokesman, Dan Whiting, had said earlier that the senator would announce his career plans Saturday. The spokesman would not say whether Craig intended to resign.
Craig has been out of public view since Tuesday, when he declared defiantly at a Boise news conference: "I am not gay. I have never been gay." But Republican sources in Idaho said he spent Friday making calls to top party officials, including the governor, gauging their support.
There has been virtually none publicly.
Asked Friday at the White House if the senator should resign, President Bush said nothing and walked off stage.
Republican officeholders and party leaders maintained a steady drumbeat of actions and words aimed at persuading Craig to vacate his Senate seat.
GOP lawmakers, hoping to get the embarrassment to the party behind them quickly, stripped Craig of leadership posts on Wednesday, one day after they called for an investigation of Craig's actions by the Senate Ethics Committee. Craig complied with the request.
With his wife, Suzanne, at his side, he said he had kept the incident from aides, friends and family and later pleaded guilty "in hopes of making it go away."
Craig, 62, has represented Idaho in Congress for more than a quarter-century and was up for re-election next year.
Republican officeholders and party leaders wanted Craig to give up his seat in the Senate as soon as possible. Their preference, according to several officials, was for a successor to be selected and ready to take the oath of office when the Senate returns from its summer vacation next week.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called Craig's conduct "unforgivable" and acknowledged that many in the rank and file thought Craig should resign.
Republicans, worried about the scandal's effect on next year's election, suffered a further setback Friday when veteran Virginia Sen. John Warner announced he will retire rather than seek a sixth term. Democrats captured Virginia's other Senate seat from the GOP in the 2006 election and have sought to line up former Gov. Mark Warner to run if the seat became open.
The contest for control of the next Senate was already tilted against Republicans, who must defend 22 of 34 seats on the ballot next year, before the Craig scandal and Warner's announcement.
With a GOP candidate other than Craig, Republicans would stand a much better chance of keeping his Idaho seat in 2008.
Idaho is one of the nation's most reliably Republican states. The GOP controls the statehouse and all four seats in Congress, and Bush carried the state in 2004 with 68 percent of the vote.
Risch, the lieutenant governor, served for seven months as governor last year after former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne was named interior secretary. Risch had said earlier he was interested in Craig's Senate seat if Craig did not seek re-election in 2008.
Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, also had been mentioned as a possible replacement for Craig, but the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because Craig has not resigned, said Otter would choose Risch.
"We've made no promises or guarantees to anyone," said Otter spokesman Jon Hanian. "We don't have a successor to name yet. We're not going to deal in hypotheticals."
Craig served in the House before winning his first Senate term in 1990 and compiled a strongly conservative voting record.
On Thursday, the Minneapolis airport authorities released a tape recording of Craig's interrogation minutes after he encountered a plainclothes officer in an adjacent stall in an airport restroom.
Craig and airport police Sgt. Dave Karsnia disagreed about virtually everything that had occurred — including whether there was a piece of paper on the floor of the stall and the meaning of the senator's hand gestures.
Craig denied that he had used foot and hand gestures to signal interest in a sexual encounter.
"I'm not gay. I don't do these kinds of things," Craig told the officer. "You shouldn't be out to entrap people."
Karsnia accused Craig of lying and grew exasperated with his denials.
"Embarrassing, embarrassing. No wonder why we're going down the tubes," Karsnia said.
So, will he be replaced by another of his species.