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GOP Senator Larry Craig arrested in 'bathroom incident'
Published: Monday August 27, 2007

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Updates at bottom: Senate ethics committee may probe, Romney campaign removes YouTube video

US Republican Senator Larry Craig on Monday denied "inappropriate conduct" after he was arrested by police investigating alleged lewd incidents in an airport bathroom.

Craig was arrested in the midwestern city of Minneapolis-St Paul in June by a plain clothes police officer, reported Roll Call newspaper, which covers Congress.

Citing court documents, Roll Call said Craig, 62, pleaded guilty this month to misdemeanor disorderly conduct and paid more than 500 dollars in fines and fees, and had a 10-day jail sentence stayed.

Shortly after news of the incident broke on the paper's website, Craig, who represents the western state of Idaho, issued a statement saying he had erred by admitting wrongdoing.

"At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct," said Craig, who is married, and up for reelection in 2008.

"I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty.

"I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."

The report quoted a plain clothes police officer as saying Craig was seated in a stall in the bathroom, and had made gestures consistent with someone "wishing to engage in lewd contact."

The complete article can be read in Roll Call. Talking Points Memo has a copy of the arrest report here .

Romney campaign removes Craig video

At least one Republican presidential campaign was affected by Monday's report that a senator had been arrested for allegedly "lewd" conduct in a men's bathroom.

"Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) who has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in connection with an incident where he allegedly solicited a plainclothes police officer in a men's restroom is one of Mitt Romney's top backers in the Senate," Jonathan Martin writes at Politico. "A clip of Craig praising Romney was until just moments ago available on Romney's YouTube channel, but is now listed as 'a private video."'

The video was later removed from the Internet by the Romney campaign.

Excerpts from article:


Explaining why he's backing Romney, Craig says in the video that it's in part because "he has very strong family values." "That's something I grew up with and believe in," Craig explains.

In February, the Romney campaign announced that Craig and Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) would serve as co-Senate liaisons for the effort.


Craig resigned his post today, said Romney communications director Matt Rhoades.

"Senator Craig has stepped down from his role with the campaign," Rhoades said. "He did not want to be a distraction and we accept his decision."



Senate ethics committee may probe

A front page article in Tuesday's edition of the Washington Post notes that Craig's plea might have consequences at his place of employment.

"Because Craig pleaded guilty to a crime, the incident may be reviewed by the Senate ethics committee," Paul Kane and Shailagh Murray report. "Its chairman, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), declined to comment last night."

Analysts, speaking to the Associated Press, believe that Craig won't be running for reelection. "Adding (the guilty plea) to the mix complicates his decision at best, and might cause him to rethink his future in the U.S. Senate," said Jim Weatherby, professor emeritus at Boise State University.

According to the AP, Idaho Democratic Party spokesman Chuck Oxley remarked, "The people of Idaho would have been better served if they'd heard this ... when it happened." (with wire reports)

Mike Rogers first reported last year on Craig's encounters with men in bathrooms, including one at Union Station in Washington. On his site, blogActive, Rogers says "there are more where Larry Craig came from." He also includes video reports of Craig's denying involvement in Congressional-page sex scandals in the 1980s.

John McArdle broke the Craig story for Roll Call. McArdle details his reporting for John Roberts of CNN.

The following video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast on August 28.