Sep 28 2007
I am glad to see Sen Craig fighting back to save his reputation and his career. I know it irks many in the GOP this moderate is not running to retirement – which he almost did.
Craig asked a Minnesota judge earlier this month to allow him to withdraw his August guilty plea for disorderly conduct after he was arrested in an airport men’s room sex sting in June. The senator said he would try to clear his name before his resignation day, Sept. 30, and, if successful, might not resign.
But after Minnesota Hennepin County Judge Charles Porter said in a hearing Wednesday no decision would be made on Craig’s request until next week at the earliest, Craig issued a statement saying, “For now, I will continue my work in the U.S. Senate for Idaho.”
Good for him. The interesting thing is he demonstrated the same knee-jerk, conflict-avoidance reaction when the news broke as he did when he was faced with the charge in the first place. In both instances his reflex reaction was to withdrawl. The first time was to just try and put it behind him by pleading guilty and hoping no one would notice. The second time he tried to just bow out of the Senate and avoid the public fight. It is interesting to see how far Craig will sacrifice to avoid the PR battles a media mob-swarm entails.
I think he has a great case – he did nothing illegal. There is no law against tapping your foot, brushing your foot against another and sweeping under stall walls. Craig’s lawyer is correct at the essence of this case – he pleaded guilty to a crime he was not charged with or evidence provided to support:
“Sen. Larry Craig denies that he went into that restroom for anything other than to go to the restroom,” said Craig’s attorney Billy Martin, arguing Wednesday that his client’s only mistake was pleading guilty to a crime he did not commit in the hopes of making it go away.
The judge really needs to toss out the plea and force the police and prosecution to prove otherwise. If, in his comments to police, he maintained his innocence then the judge has no choice. If the discussions for plea revolved around authorities arguing “this will be easier on you” instead of Craig saying “I was looking for sex” (which still is not a crime – people pick up other people all over this world) then the judge knows damn well this was not a case of a guilty plea but a plea to avoid media exposure (again, not a crime). If the judge holds a vision of justice as the pursuit of truth regarding right and wrong, then he has no choice to toss out the plea and let authorities try the case.
In reality he should just to test the authorities. If Craig is guilty then the case will be tried and he will be found guilty. If the case is bogus, the prosecution will drop the case. The judge can now LET THE PROCESS WORK by forcing the issue into the process instead of trying to short cut it. If the judge has faith and trust in our judicial process, he will let it test the case as it should be tested. I think most judges would defend the judicial process to their dying breath – so I am actually optimistic the judge will toss the plea and let the prosecution prove its case. If this happens, I predict authorities will drop it and the judge will be vindicated in his decision. Even if they do go forward, he will be vindicated.