Arrest in men's room led to senator's guilty plea

August 28, 2007|By McClatchy-Tribune

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Larry Craig was arrested in June in a Minneapolis airport men's room by a plainclothes police officer who was investigating complaints of lewd conduct, according to a police report.

Craig later pleaded guilty this month to charges of disorderly conduct.

Craig, an Idaho Republican, was arrested June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The police account, first reported yesterday in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, said a plainclothes officer was investigating complaints about sexual activity in the men's public restroom.

Craig was "detained for approximately 45 minutes, interviewed, photographed, fingerprinted and released, and police prepared a formal complaint for interference with privacy and disorderly conduct," according to a copy of the incident report provided by Roll Call.

Minneapolis airport police have made "numerous arrests regarding sexual activity in the public restroom," the police report said.

Craig's arrest was confirmed by Nancy Peters, a spokeswoman for Hennepin County Courts in Minneapolis. Peters confirmed the Roll Call report that said Craig pleaded guilty Aug. 8 to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge.

Craig was fined $1,000 and sentenced to 10 days in jail, Peters said, but the 10-day sentence was stayed for a year, meaning that Craig will avoid jail time unless he is rearrested on a similar charge within a year.

Peters said Craig paid $575 of the fine and won't have to pay the $425 balance if he meets the terms of his one-year probation, which will be unsupervised.

Craig released a statement late last night saying that he had done nothing wrong. He told no one on his staff or in the Senate leadership about the arrest until it was made public by Roll Call. According to his statement, Craig did not consult a lawyer.

"At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct," Craig said in his statement. "I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."

Senate leaders from both parties declined to comment.

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