Larry Craig Spokesman: He's Getting Ready to Leave

The latest twist and turn in the Larry Craig resignation saga: He's getting ready to leave by September 30 after all.

Sen. Larry Craig has all but dropped any notion of trying to complete his term, and is focused on helping Idaho send a new senator to Washington within a few weeks, his top spokesman said Thursday.

The only exception would be a court ruling by September 30 vacating his guilty plea.

My translation: His motion to vacate the plea and sentence will be on more than one ground and at least one of them cannot be determined from the face of the documents and will require a written response and possibly a hearing. That is unlikely to occur within the next three weeks.

If Craig was only going to complain about the failure of the plea form to advise him of his right to counsel, I think he could get a ruling by Sept. 30. But if he is also going to argue that the facts he admitted to don't constitute a crime, the prosecutor will want to file a brief in opposition and the court may want to hold a hearing.


Minneapolis defense attorney Joe Friedberg was on CNN last yesterday. Here's what he said:

JOE FRIEDBERG: MINNEAPOLIS DEFENSE ATTORNEY: To let it go forward would be a manifest miscarriage of justice.....What this is, is a plea to a set of facts that don't constitute a crime.

JOHNS: In other words, what an undercover police officer said about Craig having a wide stance in a bathroom stall, tapping his foot and so on, isn't against the law.

FRIEDBERG: It would be kind of like somebody pleading guilty to attempting to rape a mannequin. It -- it can't happen.

JOHNS: No crime, no valid plea -- that's the theory. And, despite his guilty plea, Craig says he did nothing wrong.

I hope someone is standing by at the MN courthouse in case the motion gets filed today. News reports are that one of his D.C. attorneys, Tom Kelly, is in Minneapolis. Since filing a motion doesn't require travel to MN when you have local counsel there, I assume Kelly has or is hoping to get a meeting with the prosecutor.

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    I've gone back and forth on this case (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:46:56 AM EST
    from the get-go.  I initially thought Craigs defenses had little merit, but came around pretty quickly once the interrogation transcript was published.  That showed me he had a defensible case.

    Where I am now?  I think I can summarize my position thusly:

    (1) Craig has workable (I'm not going to speculate on likelihood of success) defense on the following points:
    (A) denial of his right to counsel
    (B) no open-court hearing on his plea, contrary to law
    (C) no crime committed;
    The defenses have been parsed any number of times here and elsewhere and I'm not going to rehearse all that.

    (2) I would look at (and argue) his slapping down the business card as his attempt to invoke the constitutional congressional/senatorial privilege against arrest - IIRC, that comes up in the transcript closely related to his reminding the police he had to catch a flight.  

    It might have been a half-as*ed way of asserting the (likely-to-have-been-vaguely-remembered-under-the-stress-of-the-moment) privilege, but IIRC, Craig is not a lawyer so I wouldn't expect him, in the stress of the moment, to make a textbook presentation of any privilege argument;

    (3)  If I had spent effectively my entire adult life in one elective office or another, I'd be mightily pis*ed when the fellow members of my party (for which I'd loyally carried water all those years) decided to and did toss me over the side in a heartbeat.  I'd be even more pis*ed because they did it not out of any alleged opprobrium of the alleged acts, but rather out of sheer electoral calculus.  I'd be even further pis*ed because it still smells to me like they knew about the arrest and plea for some time and then deliberately disclosed it to swamp the story of the AG getting the axe for being a total clown and lackey and to instill some party discipline.  So, I would just decide that I would stay put until such time as my court case was resolved, and let the chips fall where they may.  If I stood in Craig's shoes, any party loyalty I may have had was burnt by the way I was treated;  if I'm going to become a national joke, f the people who want me to do nice by them.

    I once knew someone who was on the receiving end of a political axe job like Craig's taken here, and that one did not even stem from any alleged scandal.  While those axe-wielders ultimately "won", their victory cost them pretty seriously because the leader of that bunch retired rather than face another electoral campaign.

    He's just shifting the fight to the background (none / 0) (#2)
    by cboldt on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 12:39:14 PM EST
    Nothing's changed, I don't think. He figures he has a chance to reverse the guilty ple, otherwise he would have stated that "one exception" thing.

    But he doesn't want to provide open fuel for his fellow senators to criticize him on. He's hoping that once his guilty plea is formally withdrawn, they'll warm up to his defense.

    I put him somewhere between denial and delusional.

    Gross Old Party (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dulcinea on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 01:39:15 PM EST
    to Larry, "Here's your hat.  What's your hurry?"

    Senator Craig has exceeded his (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 02:54:48 PM EST
    allotted 15 minutes of fame.