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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.

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Larry Craig to McConnell: I'm Staying if My Plea is Withdrawn

Sen. Larry Craig told Sen. Mitch McConnell today he will finish out his term in the Senate if he's successful at getting his plea withdrawn.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters that he spoke with Craig this morning. Craig told him that if he could "dispose" of the guilty plea he made last month after being accused of soliciting sex in a Minnesota airport men's room, "it would be his intention to come back to the Senate and deal with the Ethics Committee case . . . and to try to finish his term."

"He is going to try to get the case in Minneapolis dismissed," McConnell added.

I'm sticking by my earlier comments that his guilty plea was defective for failing to advise him of his right to counsel and contain an acknowledgment by him that he understood the right and was waiving it. Minnesota law is very clear on that. His guilty plea form is here.

It shouldn't even require a hearing. A Judge could grant the motion based on the paperwork. I won't be surprised if the prosecutor confesses the motion. I also think Craig's statement to McConnell is based on Billy Martin thinking there's a good chance the Judge will rule on his motion to withdraw the plea within the next three weeks.

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Another Defense for Sen. Larry Craig?

I've opined several times that Sen. Larry Craig's plea might be withdrawn because the mail-in plea agreement he signed failed to advise him of his right to counsel. Attorney Beldar points out that Minnesota has a form for defendants who want to plead guilty pro se. Beldar notes, however, there's been no reporting that Craig submitted such a form. Maybe a reporter or lawyer in MN could check the file?

Meanwhile, World Net Daily comes up with another defense for Sen. Craig: Article 1: Section 6 of the U.S. Constitution provides that no member of Congress can be arrested while traveling to or from official session. Craig voted on a bill in Washington at 5:55 pm, which raises the clear inference he was traveling from MN to D.C. to vote.

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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.

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Specter: Larry Craig Should Fight and Not Resign

Raw Story reports that Sen. Arlen Specter said on Fox News Sunday that Sen. Larry Craig should use the time between now and Sept. 30 to withdraw his plea and fight the case and not resign as planned.

Specter notes that Craig didn't resign, only stated his intention to step down.

"I'd still like to see Senator Craig fight this case. "He left himself some daylight Chris, when he said that he intends to resign in 30 days. I'd like to see Larry Craig go back to court, seek to withdraw his guilty plea and fight the case.

"I've had some experience in these kinds of matters since my days as Philadelphia district attorney, and on the evidence Senator Craig wouldn't be convicted of anything, and he's got his life on the line and 27 years in the House and the Senate and I'd like to see him fight the case 'cause I think he could be vindicated."

RS also provides the video.

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Sen. Larry Craig Lawyers Up

Sen. Larry Craig has retained Washington lawyer Billy Martin to determine his options in his Minnesota disorderly conduct case.

Martin most recently represented NFL player Michael Vick in his dog-fighting case. He also represented Monica Lewinsky's mother in her grand jury appearance.

Martin says:

Martin said, "The arrest of any citizen raises very serious constitutional questions, especially when that citizen says that he is innocent and pled guilty in an attempt to avoid public embarrassment.

Senator Craig, like every other American citizen, deserves the full protection of our laws. He has the right to pursue any and all legal remedies available as he begins the process of trying to clear his good name."

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Larry Craig's Resignation: Live Thread

Update: Transcript is here while Crooks and Liars has the video.

Update: 12:30 pm. He's walking to the podium, his wife and family are with him. The Governor is present too.

First and foremost, let me thank my family for being with me (family claps loudly.) For any public official to be standing with Larry Craig at this point in time is a humbling experience.

He's grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Idaho. He's proud of his record and accomplishments. He chose to serve because he loves Idaho.

To Idahoans, his staff and family: I apologize for what I have caused. I'm deeply sorry. I have little control over what people choose to believe.

To pursue my legal options as I continue to serve Idaho would be too distracting. There are many challenges facing Idaho now and the people deserve someone who can devote 100%.

With sadness and deep regret I will resign Sept. 30th. (Big cheers.) He hopes to allow a smooth and orderly transition of his staff.

I apologize for being unable to serve out a term to which I have been elected.

He and his wife are humbled by the tremendous outpouring of support he's received from everyone (lists different groups of people.)

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Sen. Larry Craig to Resign September 30th

The Idaho Statesman reports that Sen. Larry Craig will make an announcement about his future Saturday.

Idaho's Governor has already decided on his successor:

Gov. Butch Otter already appears to have settled on a successor: Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, according to several Republicans familiar with internal deliberations.

Update: CNN reports he will resign, effective September 30th.

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Sen. Larry Craig Expected to Resign, Possibly Today

CNN reports Sen. Larry Craig may resign today.

Fox News reports:

The Republican National Committee has warned Sen. Larry Craig privately that if he does not resign, the party will not provide him financial support in the upcoming election and it will recruit a Republican opponent to run against him.

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Beginning of the End for Sen. Larry Craig

Republicans stripped Sen. Larry Craig of his leadership posts today.

A statement by the Senate Republican leadership said Mr. Craig “has agreed to comply” with a request to step down as the top Republican on the Veterans Affairs Committee, the Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior and the Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee on public lands and forests.

“This is not a decision we take lightly, but we believe this is in the best interest of the Senate until this situation is resolved by the Ethics Committee,” the statement said.

Senators John McCain and Norm Coleman, and Rep. Pete Hoeckstra have called for his resignation.

Craig, in his statement yesterday, said he is now seeking legal advice about his Minnesota conviction for disorderly conduct. As LNILR opined earlier today, that's not likely to do him much good.

If he's really sure he isn't gay and that he never had encounters with men in public restrooms, he might be better off hiring Lin Wood (Richard Jewell and John and Patsy Ramseys' attorney) to bring a libel suit against the media outlets that alleged otherwise. While a settlement or favorable ruling is unlikely to be timely enough to end the calls for his resignation, if he won, he'd get his good name back.

What does it say if he doesn't bring a libel suit? That no lawyer would take it or that he's pulling our leg with his denials?

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Does Sen. Craig really want a trial?

Yesterday in his press conference and on his website, Sen. Larry Craig said:

In June, I overreacted and made a poor decision. While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of making it go away. I did not seek any counsel, either from an attorney, staff, friends, or family. That was a mistake, and I deeply regret it. Because of that, I have now retained counsel and I am asking my counsel to review this matter and to advise me on how to proceed.

Does he want a trial? Can he win a trial? I don't think so.

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Larry Craig: "I Am Not Gay"

So Craig says today in his press conference. Personally, I do not care. But I think Glenn Greenwald exposes the problem Republicans face on this matter - they hate gay persons.

The evidence seems pretty clear that Craig is in fact gay. And now Republicans have to deal with this reality, even in the face of Craig's denials.

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Sen. Larry Craig: Idaho Statesman's 5 Month Investigation

McJoan at Daily Kos has the backstory to the Idaho Statesman investigation of Sen. Larry Craig.

The Statesman published the report of its five month investigation today.

In an interview on May 14, Craig told the Idaho Statesman he'd never engaged in sex with a man or solicited sex with a man. The Craig interview was the culmination of a Statesman investigation that began after a blogger accused Craig of homosexual sex in October. Over five months, the Statesman examined rumors about Craig dating to his college days and his 1982 pre-emptive denial that he had sex with underage congressional pages.

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Disorderly Conduct in Minnesota: The Statute

ABC News has the plea disposition document from the Minnesota Court in Sen. Larry Craig's bathroom arrest. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct (Section 609.72.1) and a second charge of invasion of privacy was dismissed. Here's the statute (via Lexis):

609.72 DISORDERLY CONDUCT Subdivision 1. Crime.

Whoever does any of the following in a public or private place, including on a school bus, knowing, or having reasonable grounds to know that it will, or will tend to, alarm, anger or disturb others or provoke an assault or breach of the peace, is guilty of disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor:

(1) Engages in brawling or fighting; or
(2) Disturbs an assembly or meeting, not unlawful in its character; or
(3) Engages in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct or in offensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others.

A person does not violate this section if the person's disorderly conduct was caused by an epileptic seizure.

Seems like Subsection 3 is the applicable one. Parsing the words, I think you have to forego boisterous or noisy. That leaves the charge that tapping the floor with his foot, putting his hand under the bathroom stall and tapping the foot of the occupant in the next stall is offensive, obscene or abusive.

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Sen. Larry Craig's Lewd Conduct Plea

Update: Talking Points has the actual arrest report. The incident was on July 11, the report was entered on July 12 by someone other than the arresting officer, and then edited by the arresting officer on June 26. I wonder whether he just blacked out stuff or made changes. Since Craig pleaded guilty, he has no ability to quiz the officer on cross-examination.

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Roll Call has the details from the officer's report concerning Idaho Senator Larry Craig's arrest in June on lewd conduct charges stemming from an incident in the men's bathroom at a Minnesota airport.

Sen. Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct without counsel in August. He paid a fine and was put on a year's probation.

Why did he plead guilty? Was he trying to keep it from the press?

My first impression: The whole encounter sounds fishy to me. From the cop's statement that the bathroom had so many complaints it was necessary to go undercover to the ambiguous hand movements the cop ascribes to Craig. I'm having a hard time even picturing what the cop thought Craig was up to given the configuration of bathroom stalls and the cop's statement they weren't in the same one.

At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot...

Really strange story.

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