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Craig Loses Appeal in Bathroom Sting Case

By Ben Pershing

A Minnesota appeals court today rejected Sen. Larry Craig's (R-Idaho) latest effort to withdraw his guilty plea, 18 months after he was arrested in a Minneapolis airport bathroom during an undercover sex sting.

Since pleading guilty in August 2007 to disorderly conduct charges, Craig has tried to pull back that plea, arguing that his behavior was not illegal and that he was pressured into the plea by police. The Hennepin County District Court denied that petition in October 2007, and the Minnesota state Court of Appeals today affirmed that decision.

In his appeal, Craig argued that the district court fundamentally erred in its decision, that the state's disorderly conduct statute was unconstitutionally broad, and that his behavior in the airport bathroom stall should be considered legally protected speech. The Appeals Court rejected all three arguments.

"Appellant has not shown that the district court abused its discretion in denying his petition to withdraw his guilty plea, and neither he nor amici have shown that the disorderly conduct statute is unconstitutionally overbroad," wrote Edward Toussaint Jr., the appeals court's chief judge.

Toussaint added that even if Craig's actions in the stall were considered speech, they can be restricted because they invaded the "privacy interest" of a "captive audience" -- in this case, the undercover officer in the neighboring stall.

In a statement released by his office, Craig said he was "extremely disappointed" by the ruling. "I disagree with their conclusion and remain steadfast in my belief that nothing criminal or improper occurred at the Minneapolis airport," he said. "I maintain my innocence, and currently my attorneys and I are reviewing the decision and looking into the possibility of appealing" to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

After initially vowing to stay in office to fight for his good name, Craig bowed to pressure from his colleagues and pledged to resign from the Senate. Then he stepped back from that pledge and instead decided simply not to run for reelection. Jim Risch (R) won the contest to succeed Craig last month.

By Ben Pershing  |  December 9, 2008; 1:50 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules , Senate  
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Aside from the fact that he is a Republican, so automatically considered guilty, do we have any reason to believe he did what he was accused of, since he did not plead guilty to that? An innocent person being tricked by the police into pleading guilty to a lesser charge happens about a thousand times a day.

Posted by: cerebral_but | December 9, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Senator Craig is an idiot. Yes means Yes. Guilty means Guilty. Cheeseburger means Cheeseburger. Resign means Resign. These pathetic politicians truly believe they are different from everybody else.

Posted by: PGirl | December 9, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

" we have any reason to believe he did what he was accused of, since he did not plead guilty to that? An innocent person being tricked by the police into pleading guilty to a lesser charge happens about a thousand times a day."

Isn't Craig a lawyer? Then at the very least he should be convicted of being a moron, even if we buy the fact that the Republican above has suddenly embraced what many consider to be lewd conduct in a public place.

And by defintion, when one pleads "guilty", one is guilty. Craig knew that; no one coerced him.

Posted by: jjedif | December 9, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Who was the amici party in the case arguing to allow this behavior?

Posted by: familynet | December 9, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

cerebral_but, you can't be serious. He's a closet __ hypocrite, a coward to boot.

Posted by: crumppie | December 9, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

do we have any reason to believe he did what he was accused of, since he did not plead guilty to that? An innocent person being tricked by the police into pleading guilty to a lesser charge happens about a thousand times a day. Posted by: cerebral_but | December 9, 2008 2:46 PM

Agreed, but how many of the 1,000s are EXPERIENCED, Well Educated, Law Makers?

That are seemingly in COMPLETE denial of their Sexuality?

I think the Senator is indeed proven to be a RARE Breed.

With an interest to BREED with other Males.

Google the exchanges/interrogation he had with the Officer; if you can find the Audio, Sen Craig is a lot of things, confused don't seem to be one of them?

His Sexual Preferences notwithstanding:):)

Posted by: MarkAntney | December 9, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

It was really the travel agent's fault. He told Senator Craig that if he wanted to get to DC, he had to connect in Minneapolis.

The senator just misunderstood.

Posted by: JoeODonnell | December 9, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Now this is over, Craig needs to come out of the closet and go find a man who will meet his sexual needs so he will no longer be tempted to solicit sex in a public restroom.

Posted by: Simon2 | December 9, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Craig is a gift that just keeps on giving for unending laughs. He is indeed the poster boy for the smug, arrogant, hypocritical Republicans who keep on yowling that the GOP is the party of "traditional values."

Posted by: checkered1 | December 9, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Dan Savage had a great observation on Real Time this past season. Openly Gay men don't need to cruise toilets to get sex.

Larry Craig is a pathetic hypocrite, and his protestations that he isn't gay are laughable and ludicrous. His sexual orientation sadly shouldn't make a difference, but to his constitutents it apparently does. So he has to lie about being gay.

A man can shake a thousands hands an no one will call him a handshaker.

It only takes one dick in the mouth and he will always be known as a dick sucker.

Posted by: VeloStrummer | December 9, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Larry Craig has been enough of an embarrassment to himself that you'd think that he would just move on. He pleaded guilty and it's tough to pull that back.

Posted by: zdaydream | December 9, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

This isn't about gay sex.

This is about bathroom sex.

Sex in public places is illegal, whether it is hetero or homosexual.

This case demonstrates the difference between Democrats and Repukes.

Gov. Spitzer (R-NY) resigned when he was caught with a h00ker. He has a sense of shame like every decent human being.

Larry Craig refused to resign. He has no shame because he's a Repuke and Repukes are all sociopaths who have no shame.

Democrats are decent human beings, and Repukes are all dangerous sociopaths. It is as simple as that.

Posted by: Tom333 | December 9, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

" we have any reason to believe he did what he was accused of, since he did not plead guilty to that? An innocent person being tricked by the police into pleading guilty to a lesser charge happens about a thousand times a day."

But he did plead guilty. Of course, you are free to believe anything you like, but:
1) How do you trick an innocent person, much less a senator, to play footsie with a stranger sitting on the next stall?
2) Does "You're gonna get out of here. You're gonna have to pay a fine, and that will be it. Okay. I don't call the media." sound like a police trickster charging an innocent man?
3) Does "I apologize for what I have caused. I am deeply sorry," sound like a guilty admission?

Yes. He has retracted publicly his guilty pleas, but, of course, what good lawyer would not have him do that? And what best argument to back up his new stance than to blame it on the corrupted cop.

As for me, I believe in Santa but not so much in Craig.

Posted by: opita | December 9, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh I wish I had an Oscar Meyer Weiner........

Posted by: justhere | December 9, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Can we all just acknowledge the obvious facts that:

1. Craig is indeed a closeted gay man. Ergo, Craig's professions of piety via evangelical christianity are completely hypocritical.

2. There are certain bathrooms frequented by certain gay men who seek out public, anonymous sex in bathrooms (T-Rooms, and T-Room Queens").

3. That anyone who does NOT troll bathrooms for sex finds the practice completely disgusting, and thus Mr. Craig's behavior is completely disgusting.

4. Straight men NEVER troll women's bathrooms for sex - they'd go STRAIGHT TO JAIL.

5. Straight women NEVER troll Men's bathrooms for sex.

6. The responsible Gay community should be railing vociferously against the practice of trolling for public sex in bathrooms!

Posted by: onestring | December 9, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Dear Larry Craig...Please stop pretending that you were wrongly accused of baiting another man to have sex with you. You know how many men said on the radio that they had sex in bathrooms with you. Great Work atlest Democrates are just currupt. You guys have some real sexual demons. Bill O'Rielly settled his case when she said she had him recorded. Larry Craig you like men and please don't put your wife through this anymore.COME OUT OF THE CLOSET. Like the other Governor did when he said "I am a Gay American" LMAO People in high places like to be with men...go figure.

Posted by: MsRita | December 9, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I thought Craig had denied he was trying to "speak" to his would be stall-mate.

Posted by: forwardpass68 | December 9, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

he should've BLEW MORE steam on Capitol hill versus letting it out in a bathroom stall!

karmic - love it.

Posted by: a_DC_denizen | December 9, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Cruising in an airport bathroom constitutionally protected speech?

Who knew?

"Nothing criminal or improper occurred at the Minneapolis airport."

Yeah, he didn't get the chance!

You couldn't make this stuff up.

Posted by: trainerbill | December 9, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Larry Craig has indeed vowed to keep fighting the Minnesota Supreme Court to restore his good name, no matter how long it takes. Even if that means constantly flying into Minneapolis over and over again to present himself, he is willing to keep coming.

That's just the kind of dedication he has.

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | December 9, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

so, mister "wide stance in the stall" lost his appeal, huh? i guess the court agreed with the prosecuters that making jack off motions with your hand under the stall wall to strang men, and rubbing mayonaise all over your face while rubbing your crotch was "solicitation"


oh man.. i LOVE this country!!!

where else can you get 24 hour a day entertainment from a bunch of political SCUMBAGS....

Posted by: DriveByPoster | December 9, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Actually, he is an idiot. If he wasn't guilty, why did he plead guilty at first and then realizing that this probably won't be pretty on his record try to reverse his plea? I just have to laugh at his stupidity.

Posted by: sonia_sekhar | December 9, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It's so easy to figure this one out.
If you're doing your business as intended in the stall, it's very difficult to have a "wide stance" when your pants are down to your ankles! He should just shut up and live in obscurity.

Posted by: jgluke | December 9, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

"Aside from the fact that he is a Republican, so automatically considered guilty, do we have any reason to believe he did what he was accused of, since he did not plead guilty to that?"

We have many, many reasons to believe. C'mon, bro, when the cop showed his badge under the stall, the Senator said, "NOOOO!" Who reacts like that? The proper response would have been: "WTF? Get your hand out of my stall!"

Then there are the Senator's responses during interrogation. Why did you stick your foot under my stall? "I have a wide stance." I have a wide stance?! Jesus golly! The man told the cop that he had a wide stance!

Who knew that there was even a term for the position of ones legs while sitting on the toilet? Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), that's who!

Posted by: omega_man | December 9, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Simon2: your suggestion that now Craig should go out and find a man so that he doesn't have to shop bathroom stalls is a good one til you consider this: who would want that skank for a partner or just a roll in the sack? YUK!

Posted by: larryb1 | December 9, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for bringing up Bill O'REilly and his sexual harassment lawsuit.

Rupert Murdoch paid $10 Million to make that go away.

O'Reilly was caught red handed. His assistant taped his pervo phonecalls and we all read the transcripts.

Loofah felafel!!

Here's my question. If YOU did what PervOreilly did, would your employer pay to make it go away? Would you still be working or would you get fired??

Then there's Junkie Rush Limbaugh and his cigar box full of drugs. He went scot free.

There IS a double standard in America.

Reich Wingnuts go scot-free for stuff that would get us fired or put in prison.

And they call themselves the party of moral values?? HA!!

Posted by: Tom333 | December 9, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ...

Posted by: EasyWriter | December 9, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Anyone defending this guy listen to the audio of the police interview? He tries to lie quicker and more often than Bill Clinton. Also, when he was a House member from Iowa in the early 80's a scandal broke about House pages being seduced at sex and drug parties by gay House member a la Mark Foley twenty years later. The report didn't even mention Rep. Craig but he decided it was a good idea to call a press conference maintaining his innocence. Someone has a guilty conscience.

Posted by: chrisdunning1 | December 9, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse




Posted by: | December 9, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

You could always impeach him, oh yea that doesn't mean anything...besides it's not really sex....but not being Democrat he will have to tell the truth.

Posted by: doggit1 | December 9, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Can't we just officially sanctify bathroom unions as marriage?

Posted by: edbyronadams | December 9, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

From what I know about the case, Sen. Craig was caught in flagrante dilecto by a police officer. He pleaded guilty. He is a lawyer. He knows what pleading guilty means. But, since he is a conservative Republican, we must give him every opportunity that a person of his limited intellect would ordinarily be given. Geez Louise. Can't Americans send competent adults to our Federal legislative bodies? What has Sen. Craig got dozens of others do not? A hold on the seat he occupies? He should be reduced to slinging hash for minimum wage somewhere obscure in Idaho.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | December 9, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

This guy needs to just go away. And stay out of the bathroom. Check out

Posted by: GloomBoomDotcom | December 9, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Craig sure is a hypocrite, but that could also be said of all those supporters of homosexuality who seem to think that this behavior has nothing to do with the illness of homosexuality. Friends, this is what it's all about - either cruising in bathrooms, or molesting kids, or rampant promiscuity, drugs...if it's not one thing, it's another. I know people don't want to look at this, but the fact is that social acceptance of homosexuality has not changed anything other than to lower the public standards as to what's right and what's wrong. The problem is in the nature of the beast. Sen. Craig needs help, as do all the other men and women lost in the homosexual world.

Posted by: MarkFoxenberg | December 9, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

It's not's Love according to M. Jackson.... it's not mental illness...well maybe it is!

Posted by: doggit1 | December 9, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Craig is not very smart. So what if he is of the "wide stance pursuation" and must stick his feet into the adjoining stalls. The trouble is that he stuck his feet into his own mouth. NOT very smart. But then the good people of Idaho re-elected him so they must support wide stances. Sad that the Minnesota legal system does not appreciate the pursuation of the wide stance (or was it the FEDs?) The real issue here is the HYPOCRISY OF THE MAN. HE OF THE WIDE STANCE, actually criticised with viciousness and vitriol those others of the wide stance. Hahahaha hak hak har har

Posted by: yard80197 | December 9, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

One more Republican toe tapper. I can understand democratic corruption for money or career advancement, for that is just a simple matter. How Republicans can justify political philosophies completely in opposite of their public stance is a fact that must be taken into account.

Posted by: tarquinis | December 9, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

After all, that wide stance business is equivalent to a marriage proposal. Heteros do it all the time.

Posted by: edbyronadams | December 9, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid that Senator Craig must step down from office. I don't care what his sexual orientation is, but the fact he lied and denied what happened, and was found guilty is enough. The man has abused his office in this appeal process, not to mention being a hypocrite about his homosexuality and then voting against issues such as gay marriage. Enough is enough. Resign and take your lumps as you deserve. Stop wasting taxpayers' money.

Posted by: kerryberger | December 9, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

once again for all you doubters out there, IT WAS WIDELY KNOWN IN IDAHO FOR YEARS that Senator Craig was trolling for sex within and outside of the state. ( I say this as an Idaho resident that worked in Republican political groups in the 1980's). Everyone knew about this but chose to ignore it. The entire republican party in Idaho just assumes that no democrat will ever be elected to national office, so they all agreed to let Larry have his "quirks". The extremely high Mormon percentage of the electorate ensures that "quirks" like Senator Craig will always be protected.

Posted by: sandram1 | December 9, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

It must be a terrifying life for Mr. Craig given that he leads a secret life, engages in risky behavior and denies both the secret and the behavior.

Doesn't he remind you of JE Hoover who carried a grudge against homosexuals for decades. Yet, during one visit to the FBI Academy he picks a recruit out and makes him a constant companion for several decades.

Same problem, living in denial. I almost feel sorry for the torment going on in his mind....almost, but not quite.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | December 10, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Repressed sexual identity must be a terrible thing to experience. One would think that living through this would open Mr. Craig's heart, allowing him to feel compassion -- first for himself, and then for all those others whom his political party has so hypocritically tormented through the decades. Alas, it appears that, at least in this case, self-loathing triumphs over the ability to accept the truth.

Posted by: DavidMichaelSmith | December 10, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"I did not have sexual relations with the guy in the next stall. I wanted to, but they busted me before I could bust his nut."


Sen. Larry "Wide Stance" Craig, R-Uranus

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 10, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Craig's appeals are being denied across the board, indicates that he is, in fact, guilty as sin; that he doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Posted by: zosima | December 10, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

"Wa, wa, wa!" Another Congressional crybaby whining about getting CAUGHT doing something pretty disgusting to most of us voters. Let him get whatever an ordinary citizen-pervert would get from prosecutors and the Court.

Makes a law-abiding, taxpaying citizen like me pretty disgusted! Who are all these clowns in the Congress? Rs or Ds, it doesn't seem to matter: too many are comitting CRIMES (This clown, Ted Stevens and his home "remodel" kickbacks, all kinds of election fraud from the last go-around...)

We are so moralistic in our foreign policy, while our ELECTED representatives are a bunch of crooks and perverts? Sad times for the US of A.

Having been through Dubai several times, I'm impressed at how safe, prosperous, and law-abiding the UAE is compared to the USA. So maybe we should scrap Congress and go with an Emir?

Posted by: OdysseusRex | December 11, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Larry Craig is a HYPOCRITE.........

Posted by: JAMadison4 | December 11, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Bank of America and Mr. Higgins missing $millions, It can happen to you, my fellow Americans

More info:

Posted by: srmaxhiggins | December 13, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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