Craig Says 'I Am Not Gay,' Did No Wrong
Wednesday, August 29, 2007; 1:08 AM
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.