Tuesday, December 9, 2008

U.S Senator Craig's Efforts to Withdraw Guilty Plea Rejected by Court

CNN is reporting that the Minnesota Court of Appeals today rejected the arguments of U.S. Senator Larry Craig, who sought to withdraw his guilty plea to a misdemeanor offense of disorderly conduct in connection with a sex-string operation at the Minneapolis airport.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's effort to withdraw his guilty plea to a misdemeanor offense of disorderly conduct in connection with a sex-sting operation.

"Because we see no abuse of discretion in the denial and conclude that the statute is not overbroad, we affirm" a lower court's decision, the three-judge panel wrote in a 10-page ruling.

In a written statement, Craig said he was "extremely disappointed" by the action and was considering an appeal.

"I disagree with their conclusion and remain steadfast in my belief that nothing criminal or improper occurred at the Minneapolis airport," Craig said.

The Idaho Republican was arrested in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in June 2007 after an undercover police officer accused him of soliciting sex by using hand signals and tapping his foot in a bathroom stall. Two months after his arrest, and without consulting a lawyer, Craig pleaded guilty to the charge without appearing in
court.

After the incident became public, he attempted to withdraw his plea, contending that his "wide stance" had been misinterpreted by the arresting officer and that he had pleaded guilty simply to get the matter over with.

. . .

And the judges denied Craig's assertion that he was entitled to withdraw his plea because he was the victim of entrapment.

They wrote that "failure to explore an entrapment defense has been found not to justify withdrawal of a guilty plea."

They cited a precedent ruling that said entrapment "exists only where the criminal intent originates in the enforcement officials of the government rather than in the mind of the accused."

Then, they added, "Here, the complaint clearly indicates that the criminal intent originated in the mind of appellant, not in the officer."

. . .

Craig initially said he would resign after the incident was reported in the news media, then decided to remain in the Senate and fight to have his guilty plea thrown out. But the three-term senator did not seek re-election this year and will retire when his term ends in January.

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