While most probably saw through the "if only I had known I should have gotten an attorney when I faced criminal charges" excuse, it is now clear that Sen. Larry Craig (R-his own private Idaho) was making a bald faced lie to his constituents and the media.
Thankfully, one newspaper checked out his stories.
As Craig apologized Tuesday afternoon for "the cloud placed over Idaho," he also acknowledged that he had told no one about his June 11 arrest for making sexual advances on an undercover police officer in the men's restroom of the Minneapolis airport.
But 11 days later, on June 22, Craig revisited the Minneapolis airport to complain about how he'd been treated by police and asking for someone with whom his lawyer could speak, according to police records. [emphasis added]
Court and arrest records released Tuesday show that Craig negotiated his plea over the telephone, then signed and returned it to the courts in the mail, much like a traffic ticket.
In his plea, signed and dated Aug. 1, but not recorded until Aug. 8, Craig agreed that by handling the matter through the mail, he was giving up a trial and his right to be present at the time of sentencing.
In my (meager) experience in Utah state courts, this plea by mail is typical for out of state defendants of minor crimes. The courtesy of telephonic pleas is afforded to people with attorneys who arrange such a thing and are not considered especially dangerous/likely to offend again.
It seems pretty dang obvious that Sen. Craig was doing everything a good defense attorney would suggest to avoid publicity and attention from his family, staff and Republican colleagues. Now it could also be true that he was trying to avoid Dan Popkey's investigative reporting by pleading, but it doesn't explain what he was doing in that notorious Minneapolis airport bathroom.
The airport restroom was so well known it was featured on an adult Web site that offers information about where men can link up for romantic encounters in both public and private locations.
If you read the plea agreement, it states what he is agreeing happened, and it even states that can "make no claim that I am innocent of the charge to which I am entering a plea of guilty,", as well as waiving his trail rights etc.
He had from June 11 until August 1 (when he signed in Washington) to seek counsel and advice. It is pretty clear from the circumstances of his plea and the events subsequent to his arrest but prior to his plea that he knew exactly what he was doing, thanks to legal counsel.
While the Senator might not go quietly into the night, as his Republican "friends" hoped he would, the facts are pretty clear that he was attempting to proposition (an undercover cop) in a public restroom for sexual activity.