Senator Craig Files Motion to Withdraw His Guilty Plea

In August, Idaho Senator Larry Craig stated that he intended to resign from Congress after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct following his arrest in a sex sting in the Minneapolis airport. Craig later clarified that he would resign only if he could not withdraw his guilty plea. Today, he filed his motion to withdraw his plea.

In Minnesota, the standard for withdrawing a guilty plea is the correction of “manifest injustice.” According to the New York Times, Craig’s lawyer said that a guilty plea must be “accurate, voluntary and intelligent.” Craig claims that he was panicked that publicity from the arrest would allow the Idaho Statesman to publish a “baseless article” about his sexuality. The paper did, indeed, publish the article following Craig’s arrest being made public.

The Times reports that Craig’s lawyers wrote that “while in this state of intense anxiety, Senator Craig felt compelled to grasp the lifeline offered to him by the police officer; namely, that if he were to submit to an interview and plead guilty, then none of the officer’s allegations would be made public.”

A University of Minnesota law professor said that plea withdrawals are “rarely made and, when made, are rarely granted, and if granted, they cause the original criminal complaint to re-emerge.” So, if Craig gets his plea withdrawn, he may face the original charges of interference with privacy, punishable by up to a year in jail, and disorderly conduct, punishable by up to 90 days.

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