Two 19-year-old Maryland men pleaded guilty yesterday to assaulting Rep. Gerry E. Studds (D-Mass.) June 8 after a night of heavy drinking in the Dupont Circle area.
James E. Byrne, of Silver Spring, and Thomas E. Carter, of Gaithersburg, entered their pleas before U.S. Magistrate Patrick J. Attridge. Byrne and Carter face up to a year in jail and a fine of $100,000. Sentencing was set for Sept. 7.
The men said they did not know at the time of the attack that Studds was a member of Congress or that he is openly gay.
In a joint statement, Byrne and Carter said they had been drinking at a Dupont Circle bar and were drunk when they left the establishment. The statement said the two men became angry and frustrated when they couldn't find their car, and took it out on Studds, who had said nothing to them.
Studds suffered bruises and lacerations in the attack.
In a prepared statement, Studds said, "I am relieved that the matter is closed and look forward to spending more time on the coast of Massachusetts on July 4th than on the streets of Washington."
Under an agreement with prosecutors, the charges of assault on a member of Congress were reduced to from felonies to misdemeanors. The felony charge carries a maximum 10-year sentence. Carter and Byrne were released pending their sentencing.