Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, lost the attempt to withdraw his guilty plea to lewd conduct in a June 11 Minneapolis airport restroom sex sting. He also has withdrawn the announcement that he would resign from the Senate and now plans to complete his term of office, which ends in January 2009.
In denying Craig's motion, Judge Charles A. Porter, Jr., called the plea 'accurate, voluntary, and intelligent because the conviction is supported by the evidence.' He said the claim that Craig did not know what he was doing when he entered the guilty plea was not credible as the Senator is 'a career politician with a college education [ and ] at least above-average
'Because the defendant's plea was accurate, voluntary, and intelligent, and because the conviction is supported by the evidence, the defendant's conviction for disorderly conduct…is valid,' Porter concluded in his Oct. 4 ruling.
Legal observers have always thought that Craig faced long odds in attempting to withdraw the plea. There is no word as to whether he will appeal the ruling to a higher court.
In a brief statement released by his office, Craig said, 'I am extremely disappointed with the ruling issued today. I am innocent of the charges against me. I continue to work with my legal team to explore my additional legal options.'
He vowed to serve out his term, saying that the last three weeks had convinced him 'that it is possible for me to work here effectively.' He also noted that it would not be possible to clear his name before the Senate Ethics Committee if he resigned.
Senate Republican leadership is dismayed by Craig's decision. They want to get the entire matter behind them as quickly as possible, but his decision not to resign makes that
The Senate Ethics Committee is now investigating the matter. But as Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., a former prosecutor and one of the few colleagues who have spoken in defense of Craig, told the New York Times, 'Disorderly conduct is not moral turpitude, and it is no basis for leaving the Senate.'