Morning Business: Court Rejects Craig’s Bid

Posted December 9, 2008 at 5:19pm

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected Sen. Larry Craig’s (R-Idaho) bid to retract his guilty plea stemming from his 2007 arrest in a sex-sting operation at the Minneapolis airport.

[IMGCAP(1)]Craig attorney Bill Martin argued before the court in September that the Senator should be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea, questioning evidence in the case as well as the statute under which Craig was charged with the misdemeanor offense of disorderly conduct.

A three-judge panel rejected those arguments Tuesday, however, saying in a written decision: “Appellant has not shown that the district court abused its discretion in denying his petition to withdraw his guilty plea and … that the disorderly conduct statute is unconstitutionally overbroad, either facially or as applied to appellant’s conduct.”

At the time of his arrest in June 2007, Craig denied to the arresting officer that he had attempted to solicit sex in a men’s airport bathroom. Nonetheless, Craig pleaded guilty two months later to a misdemeanor charge and only sought to change his plea in August 2007 after Roll Call published news of his arrest and conviction.

Craig, who did not run for re-election this year, said Tuesday that he is considering another appeal.

“I am extremely disappointed by the action of the Minnesota Court of Appeals,” Craig said in a statement. “I disagree with their conclusion and remain steadfast in my belief that nothing criminal or improper occurred at the Minneapolis airport. I maintain my innocence, and currently my attorneys and I are reviewing the decision and looking into the possibility of appealing. I would like to thank all of those who have continued to support me and my family throughout this difficult time.”