Paper Publishes Larry Craig's Voicemail to his Lawyer

Bump and Update: Check out the voicemail Sen. Larry Craig left for his lawyer Billy Martin "on a stranger's phone" minutes before his resignation speech. Roll Call obtained the voicemail after it was offered for sale and refused by the Idaho Statesman. McJoan at Daily Kos posts the entire transcript.

Update: Here's the audio of the call from Roll Call. Sounds more like an answering machine than a voicemail to me, although I don't know it makes a difference.

This story keeps getting weirder by the hour.

"Yes, Billy, this is Larry Craig calling. You can reach me on my cell. Arlen Specter is now willing to come out in my defense, arguing that it appears by all that he knows that I have been railroaded and all that.

"Having all of that, we have reshaped my statement a little bit to say it is my intent to resign on Sept. 30. I think it is important for you to make as bold a statement as you are comfortable with this afternoon, and I would hope you could make it in front of the cameras.

"I think it would help drive the story that Im willing to fight, that Ive got quality people out there fighting in my defense, and that this thing could take a new turn or a new shape, it has that potential. Anyway, give me a buzz or give Mike a buzz on that. Were headed to my press conference now. "Thank you. Bye."

Dan Whiting, confirms the voice is Craig's. Here's the statement Billy Martin released Saturday.

So who did Craig call? Did someone close to Martin sell him out or did he really dial the wrong number? I wonder what the recorded message said on the phone Craig left the voice-mail on. He's not stupid. If it was "Hi, this is John, please leave me a message" he wouldn't have left that message. Something had to indicate to Craig he was calling Billy Martin. No way would Billy Martin have leaked the message. So, who is Roll Call protecting? My theory is below.


One possible scenario: Craig pressed the wrong number in his cell phone, didn't hear the person's message because he was talking to someone physically with him at the time, but when he heard the beep, left the message. Perhaps that number belonged to a Republican he had spoken with earlier who wanted him out badly enough to drop a dime on him to Roll Call and the Idaho Statesman. Just a theory, but it makes more sense than dialing a stranger, which sounds like a story the paper and the source cooked up to shield his identity.]

Also curious is the increasingly obvious role Arlen Specter has played in this mess.

Original Post:
Report: Sen. Larry Craig Reconsidering Resignation Decision

Sen. Larry Craig's spokesman says he may reconsider his resignation decision:

"It's not such a foregone conclusion anymore, that the only thing he could do was resign," said Sidney Smith, Craig's spokesman in Idaho's capital.

"We're still preparing as if Senator Craig will resign Sept. 30, but the outcome of the legal case in Minnesota and the ethics investigation will have an impact on whether we're able to stay in the fight - and stay in the Senate."

If true, I suspect it means Craig's lawyers have advised him he is likely to prevail on a motion to withdraw his plea. The most obvious ground I think is the failure of the mail-in plea form to advise him of his right to counsel. (Plea form is here, pdf)

Update: The Idaho Statesman, which earlier this afternoon quoted a spokesman as saying Craig wasn't reconsidering resigning, now says:

"Basically, as he stated on Saturday, Senator Craig intends to resign on Sept. 30th," said his spokesman Dan Whiting via e-mail Tuesday night. "However, he is fighting these charges, and should he be cleared before then, he may, and I emphasize may, not resign."

Update: The Washington Post reports Craig was influenced by Sen. Specter's phone call to him urging him to fight.

Update 9/5: Roll Call says the recipient of the call was not involved in politics and Billy Martin never heard the message.

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  • Display: Sort:
    heh (1.00 / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 09:30:46 AM EST
    ....it was offered for sale and refused by the Idaho Statesman.

    Having destroyed Craig with a 6 month investigation and 300 interviews the Statesman (??) refuses??

    Reminds me of a fat person refusing desert after a 5 course dinner...

    You're wecome (1.00 / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 06:45:43 PM EST
    Fact is they ran the expose after he shot himself in the foot. But the investigation had gone before.

    Excellent Point (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 09:56:16 PM EST
    Re: So if "he shot himself in the foot" (none / 0) (#23)
    by Listener on Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 04:10:33 PM EST
    Answer on this question is very simple and squeaky done it well

    Read his comments (none / 0) (#24)
    by jondee on Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 04:34:47 PM EST
    back when the story broke. The overall thrust seems to be that there was an Idaho/Minneasota liberal media conspiracy to sabotage the careers of right wing mens room predators -- along with the effort to sabotage their political careers.

    The leadership will be apoplectic! (none / 0) (#1)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 08:02:06 PM EST
    Pass the popcorn.

    A lawmaker, but with degrees in PolySci and AgEcon (none / 0) (#2)
    by jerry on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 08:12:20 PM EST
    You might be able to hear my grumbling about hypocrites using technicalities.  However, the truth is that though he has been an elected lawmaker for 26 years, his degrees are in Political Science and Agricultural Economics.

    Apparently he was too busy in college in the sixties to watch Adam 12.

    Advisement of the right to counsel (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 08:29:58 PM EST
    is not a technicality. It's an important pre-requisite to any guilty plea involving jail time.  See the case law and MN rules cited in my earlier post.

    Right to counsel not a technicality... (none / 0) (#4)
    by jerry on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 08:49:24 PM EST
    I absolutely agree with you, which is why I only grumbled while pointing out he doesn't have a law degree.

    If this were Alberto Gonzales, or an actual lawyer and not just a 26 year Washington lawmaker using this defense I would be screaming hypocrisy.  (Though it is likely that Alberto once heard of this but forgot it.)  (Right now I am just muttering hypocrisy.)

    The right to counsel is not a technicality, but I think that any actual lawyer that would use this as a way of altering a guilty plea should have his license to practice law revoked.


    So is this a criminal justice system malfunction? (none / 0) (#5)
    by JSN on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 09:39:20 PM EST
    Very little attention is paid to such low level offenses so the officer could screw up and nobody would care.

    Excellent series of posts, Jeralyn! (none / 0) (#6)
    by Beldar on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 09:54:48 PM EST
    For what it's worth, and very much against my instincts (as a conservative lawyer-blogger), I independently came to concur with Jeralyn's assessment of Craig's chances for getting his plea withdrawn. Here, in lieu of a trackback ping, is a link to my own generally similar take.

    Good post and you spotted something (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 12:14:01 AM EST
    with your reference to MN Form 11, a separate form acknowledging the right to counsel and waiving it.  

    Some reporter needs to check the court file and see if Craig submitted that form with his guilty plea.


    He wouldn't have known (none / 0) (#13)
    by Beldar on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 01:28:05 AM EST
    Craig wouldn't have known to submit it unless they sent it to him. Given that they already deviated from the language in the Rule and in the appendices, my strong hunch is that they didn't.

    If you look at Appendix C -- the form intended for people who lack counsel -- it's so horribly drafted, with excessive legalese and just poor internal construction and instructions -- that I can see why the prosecutors would have been tempted to go with a short-form version. "Plea by mail" is for the defendants' convenience anyway. And most of the time, it wouldn't matter.

    This turned into a career-ending simple misdemeanor, though.


    Good (none / 0) (#7)
    by glanton on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 10:03:13 PM EST
    I hope he fights it, gives it everything he's got to clear his "good name."

    If he fights for his Senate seat, it'll stay in the public conversation.  Not only will he bceome much more of a joke but so perhaps will other demagogues like him.  

    And whether he actually keeps the seat is of no consequence, really, since it's Idaho and another Republican is set to replace him.

    John Boy......... (none / 0) (#8)
    by avahome on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 10:04:00 PM EST
    Enough already with playing the audio of Craig's chat with the policeman.  Must we ask for a detailed explanation of what exactly foot taping and hand running under the divider signifies?

    I'm one of those mothers that stood outside the mems room when my son was too old to come into the ladies room with me.  This is the horror that is reaching the ears of women....and who all else is listening to the audio.....  

    To be sure..this is Craig's business and he needs to deal with it....I'm sick to death of hearing about it!

    It was a mail in. He should be able to withdraw (none / 0) (#9)
    by Sailorman on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 10:45:15 PM EST
    Come on everybody.  We are progressives.

    Withdrawing a guilty plea is not the end of the world.  It is granted somewhat routinely.  All in all he should be allowed to withdraw a mail in guilty plea entered without the benefit of representation.

    He should be allowed to withdrawal his plea and contest the charges, since the penalties are so much greater than he assumed.

    Secondly, the actions of Sen. Craig as reported rise to about the level of illegally parking in a handicapped zone or at the most going 10 miles over the speed limit.  This is simply gay bashing.  If every elected official was held to this standard of conduct, there would be 535 ex-congressmen and one ex-president and one ex-member of nothing (Cheney).

    We have let the media made a tempest in a teapot.  I find Senator Craig's positions on national issue absolutely deplorable.  But that should not in any way cloud or influence our beliefs in the rights we, as citizens of the USA have, and our desires to fight for and defend those rights against a flag waiving authoritarian right wing.

    Very well put (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 01:45:10 AM EST
    Thank you for pointing that out.

    I have seen very few people (none / 0) (#18)
    by glanton on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 05:20:25 PM EST
    on this blog or anywhere else on the Internet say that they want to see Craig punished (jail time, fines, etc.)  Some people have defended the sting, some have opposed it, but nobody has iffered up a disagreement to your righteous proclamation, "the actions of Sen. Craig as reported rise to about the level of illegally parking in a handicapped zone or at the most going 10 miles over the speed limit."

    Those of us who are bashing Craig and the GOP more generally are not gay bashing, and I suspect you know that.  

    It seems to me that what you and other liberals are most upset about is simply that we're not focusing on what you want us to focus on.  We're not all screaming about the sting, etc.  

    And as for myself, I am hoping that he gets his plea withdrawn, and I am hoping that he fights for his Senate seat.  


    Let's call Mark (none / 0) (#10)
    by koshembos on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 10:56:15 PM EST
    Let's call Mark Foley and ask him to reconsider. Then start to sell ticket to the show. Beautiful.

    Specifically re the mislaid voicemail (none / 0) (#11)
    by Beldar on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 12:03:08 AM EST
    There's a good chance that Craig could get any evidence of the voicemail suppressed as an unintentional disclosure that didn't amount to a valid waiver of attorney-client privilege — meaning he could keep the prosecution from making any use of it at trial.

    Of course, it will be pretty hard to find a jury in Minneapolis who doesn't already know that he pleaded guilty, even if he is permitted to withdraw his guilty plea.

    But he's very, very lucky there wasn't anything more sensitive in the voicemail. If he'd said, for instance, "I've got to keep fighting this thing in court or else my wife will realize I'm really gay and divorce me, and I can't afford that," then it would have been cold comfort for him that he might be able to keep that from being formally offered into evidence at a trial.

    Moral: When speaking to your lawyer on voicemail, limit yourself to, "Billy, this is Larry, call me back, k thx bai."

    I find it difficult (none / 0) (#15)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 07:35:24 AM EST
      to imagine that an established  politico
    (of either Party) who wanted to expose Craig would ask for money to provide the recording.

      That assertion by the Statesman leads me to think it was either someone unconnected or someone very low-level.

      It shouldn't be too difficult for Craig to figure out who it was. His phone should have the listing of his dialed calls.

    Are You Kidding Me? (none / 0) (#22)
    by bselznick on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 10:12:10 AM EST
    Quote: "The most obvious ground I think is the failure of the mail-in plea form  to advise him of his right to counsel."

    So a United States Senator walks into a court room in order to explain to the judge that he is so ignorant of the law that he had no idea, regardless of how many lawyers he has had lunch over his career and how many Law and Order episodes he's probably watched, he had no idea that as an American he had a right to counsel.  Even after taking this document home and giving some time to think it all over, there was no thought in his head that he had the "right" to talk to a lawyer -- A UNITED STATES SENATOR?

    Most elementary school kids will tell you that if an officer asks you a question the first words out of your mouth are "I want a lawyer".

    Here's a bumper sticker for ya:

    GOPer = STUPID!

    If a judge goes for this he/she should be immediately impeached.

    About story (none / 0) (#25)
    by AmyD on Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 02:12:40 PM EST