Sen. Larry Craig: “I am not Gay”
Posted by shadmia on August 30, 2007
Sen. Larry Craig R-Idaho, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from complaints of lewd conduct in an airport bathroom in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In a public statement the senator said that he did nothing inappropriate and he “overreacted and made a poor decision” in pleading guilty to disorderly conduct. With his wife beside him he claimed that he was the victim of a “witch hunt” conducted by the Idaho Statesman newspaper.
“Let me be clear: I am not gay and never have been,” said Craig, who has aligned himself with conservative groups who oppose gay rights.
“In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis, because of the stress of the Idaho Statesman’s investigation and the rumors it has fueled around Idaho,” he said. “Again, that overreaction was a mistake, and I apologize for my misjudgment.”
According to the arresting officer, Sgt. Dave Karsnia, Craig peered through a crack in a restroom stall door for two minutes and made gestures suggesting he wanted to engage in “lewd conduct.”
Craig’s blue eyes were clearly visible through the crack in the door, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport police Sgt. Dave Karsnia wrote in the report he filed.
“Craig would look down at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again,” Karsnia wrote in documents accompanying the arrest report.
Karsnia was on a plainclothes detail in the restroom because of citizen complaints and arrests for sexual activity there. In his report he wrote that when the person occupying the stall beside him left, Craig entered it and blocked the door with his rolling suitcase. “My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall.” The senator then tapped his right foot, “a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct,” Karsnia wrote, and Craig ran his left hand several times underneath the partition dividing the stalls. “The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot, which was within my stall area,” After Craig ran his hand underneath the partition wall three times, Karsnia held his police identification down by the floor so the senator could see it, the report said.
The senator initially resisted the officer’s request to go to the police operations center, he said, but finally did. There, he was read his Miranda rights, interviewed, photographed, fingerprinted and released, the report said.
He was charged with two offenses, Interference with Privacy (a gross misdemeanor) and Disorderly Conduct (a misdemeanor). He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of disorderly conduct “in the hope of making it go away“. “I did not seek any counsel, either from an attorney, staff, friends, or family. That was a mistake, and I deeply regret it.” the senator said. He paid $575 in fines and fees. A 10-day jail sentence was suspended and Craig received one year’s unsupervised probation.
This is not the first time that Craig’s sexuality has come under scrutiny. Since his college days in 1967 there have been rumors that he was gay. He denied, in 1982, that he was involved in a sex scandal with congressional male pages. In fact the Idaho Statesman had been investigating claims from various sources that the senator had engaged in homosexual relationships with a number of men when the news of his arrest was made public by Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper.
Hardball with Chris Matthews takes a look at some of the allegations surrounding Sen. Larry Craig
On Capitol Hill, Craig is under tremendous pressure from his Republican colleagues. He held a prominent role with Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, serving as a Senate liaison for the campaign since February. He resigned from the post. Senate GOP leaders, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Trent Lott of Mississippi, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas and John Ensign of Nevada, announced that Craig had complied with their request to temporarily step down from senior posts on Senate committees. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and other leaders have referred the Craig incident to the Senate Ethics Committee. Two Republican senators, John McCain and Norm Coleman, have called for him to resign. Even The White House voiced “disappointment” with the situation, and called on the Senate to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.
It seems as if everyone on the Republican side wants “the problem” to just go away!