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Gov. Butch Otter and Sen. Craig at Craig's "resignation" - when Butch was still smiling

Larry Craig Gets Court Date: Who’s Driving Now?

Sen. Larry Craig will get his day in a Minnesota court on September 26 – four days before he has said he intends to resign.

Craig will make his case for a reversal of his guilty plea in an airport sex sting. But it’s unknown if the judge will rule that same day, so Craig’s self-imposed deadline may pass without a resolution of his case.

Under Minnesota law, a guilty plea may be withdrawn if there is “manifest injustice” to which Senator Arlen Specter, one of Sen. Craig’s only defenders, said, “and that is defined that a plea can be withdrawn if it was not intelligently made,” Specter said. “And what Senator Craig did was by no means intelligent.”

Craig pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. It was a deal-swap for dropping a misdemeanor charge of interference with privacy.

Two cases (and there may be more) in Minnesota case law may give Craig small reason to hope: State of Minnesota vs. Michelle Kim Gibson-Webb “reversed in part” a plea agreement, but the facts and details are very different from Craig’s case. And Jeffrey Allen Vernlund vs. State of Minnesota reversed a DUI guilty plea.

With the court date so close to the date Craig has said he’ll resign, the options for what he’ll do are many.

D.C. Republicans are white-hot with fury at Craig, a Senate staffer told NewWest.Net/Boise. “He’s like those trick birthday candles that won’t blow out,” she said. “Of all the times for a Republican senator to break ranks and fall out of formation, this wasn’t a good choice.”

In Idaho, the tenuous nature of Craig’s resignation, or non-resignation, leaves Gov. Butch Otter in an uncomfortable position of needing to choose his replacement, but not being able to tell that person to start packing.

The only way the Senate can actually throw him out is to formally expel him, and Senate Democrats are unlikely to go along with that. So how would party leaders and the Senate make him go away?

It might not happen. He can always change his resignation date – or cancel it – at his will. On September 30, he could modify the deal, depending on what happens in Minnesota courts. He could decide to fight the Ethics Committee, and he’d have to be a sitting senator to do that. He can simply refuse to resign and let the chips fall.

Remember that proverbial bus Craig got thrown under by his colleagues? For the time being, he’s driving it.

About Jill Kuraitis

Jill Kuraitis is an award-winning journalist who specializes in news of Idaho and the Rocky Mountain West. Her B.A. in theatre management is from UC Santa Barbara, and she went on to work in theatre, film, and politics before writing became a career. Kuraitis has two excellent grown children and lives in Boise with her husband of 30 years, abundant backyard wildlife, and two huge hairy dogs.

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  1. Larry Craig is just a gift that keeps on giving.

    Let us all support Larry in his current endeavors to challenge his own guilty plea that verified all of the train station restroom rumors that have been floating in Washington DC since 1982.

    Go Larry! You can do it!

  2. Donald Iarussi MFA

    funny how most of the media on the left believe this . but not all the women who accused bill clinton of sexual abuse. how sad a commentary.

  3. What did Senate Republican leadership expect? Did they think by denuding him he would crawl quietly into his disgrace? What does the senator have left except the leverage he gets by not going away silently? I’m sure deals are being struck right now to salvage some of Craig’s retirement plans, a few corporate boards, some semblance of support, like letters of recommendation to natural resources lobbying firm, in exchange for his quiet acceptance.

    I think Simpson’s criticisms of leadership in his party are well taken. Loyalty is a two way street. With the unpopular war foisted by the administration and the hit the Republican brand is taking, Republican politicians got to wonder what is owed to a party with this much baggage and that would cast you out like yesterday’s garbage.

  4. Yeah, Donald, I mean what kind of a political party would spend tens of millions of dollars in trying to find evidence of sexual assault amongst anyone that would make any spurious claim, tie up the FBI and local state police researching any leads and then turn up nothing than a stained blue dress from consensual relations?

    Oh, wait….. Never mind, thats not a very good example.

  5. A senator, such as Larry Craig, who is innocent, would never allow anyone to bully him into anything, especially signing an official court document 3 weeks later in private.

    If Mr. Craig was truly innocent Republicans all over the District would have rallied behind (no pun intended). They did not. And why? Because most were likely aware of this person’s inappropriateness for years and this was the final straw.

    The “state of high anxiety” Craig experienced, following his arrest, was because he got caught doing something his family were completely in the dark about. Wonder how many times he cruised bathrooms before he got stung? My guess is a lot!

    In order for Craig to ‘save face’ with his naive wife and adult adopted children, he had to take this course. And what attorney wouldn’t jump at the chance to run up a tab of $500,000. knowing the taxpayers were footing the bill. If you really open your eyes this entire scenario is so transparent.

    The valliant thing for Mr. Craig to do is to fade away into the sunset and quit wasting taxpayers time and money! You are the weekest link…GOOD BYE!!!

  6. Donald,

    you’re comparing apples to oranges. but don’t worry: republicans and their nut job spin machines have taught you to be illogical. it’s not your fault.

    But to refresh your memory with some provable facts: Larry Craig pleaded guilty in this case, which means “legally” he’s already been convicted.

    Clinton was never found guilty by a court of law for philandeering in a bathroom, or technically “disorderly conduct,” only perjuring himself under oath.

    Get your facts straight, and you won’t look so ill-informed like all your cronies who about to get their ass kicked in 2008 because voters are sick of the GOP’s moral hypocricy, bald-faced corruption and patent dishonesty.

  7. You go TommyBoy!

  8. larry craigs accusers are lying, are anti gay, violated his civil rights and entrapped him….no proof

    where keenedy clearly killed mary jo kopechnie and many accused bill clinton of sexual abuse….

  9. Oh good, we gots ourselves a troll! I say that only because no one can ignore the guilty plea for this long.

    It was a very good try, Donald. Try a new pseudonym next time and see if you can get us to bite again.

  10. Bill Clinton (1998): “I did not have sex with that woman..”

    Larry Craig (2007: future paraphrase): “I did not have sex with that man.. (but I meant to)”

    Donald- Wake up man! You been a duped by another culture warrior with kneepads.

  11. wow, it is amazing how obcessed people are with accusing craig of something he was not found guilty of and his other plea will be overturned.

    who acres about specter, he is a moron. he is in his last term for sure….fooled GOP once, not again….How would specter know what is intelligent, wow he should be running with John McCain, as democrats…

    41 men arrested because it was a place where this “rising” cop chose to hang out. Cops have lied before.

    meanwhile there are thousands of men using restrooms in the city on the mini apple, but since they are liberal Democrats. They should be left alone, err, also mini apple has done nothing to lower the percentage of sexual assault

  12. Donald,
    Take a deep breath man!!! No need to be found guilty when you PLEAD guilty. Intelligent or not, under pressure or not, with or without counsel someone with Craig’s education and experience knows better. Going back a second time to gather information for your attorney and then filing the plea agreement from a judge’s office in Boise AND then supposedly telling no one. Right???? in my book not telling the truth and lying are the same thing. Get a grip!!!! What would your wife or significant other do to or with you under the same circumstances. Don’t think too long you might hurt yourself.

  13. Now you really go to far Donald. Like so many of those “right-wing” clowns masquerading as a true conservative, you lambast John McCain as a Democrat? Geez… ever hear of a certain previous Republican Senator from Arizona named Barry Goldwater? A real honest-to-goodness conservative whom one might disagree with on issues, but always listen to respectfully given his true sense of public service.

    When the old man was in his declining years, a would-be GOP Az congressman attacked his gay grandson for being gay to exploit the God, Guns, and Gay vote in Central Arizona. An easy thing to do… But the old geezer came out of the shadows and publicly denounced the candidate, stating that although he did not approve of the behavior, his grandson was free to do what-ever he wanted as long as it was not illegal.

    Yes… ILLEGAL… like trolling public mens’ bathrooms for sexual exploits while proclaiming oneself a righteous defender of family values for the God, Guns, and Gays vote back home. The man PLEAD GUILTY. You should count yourself lucky to even be in the same party with Goldwater’s successor- John McCain – who has proven his public service and not indulged in such hypocrisy. He took his lumps early on over the Keating 5 controversy and since proven himself a real public servant unlike your hero – Larry Craig. There is a true hypocrite, liar, and philanderer. Pray that McCain get the GOP nomination and gives the nation a real choice!

  14. To Everyone with an Honest Brain in their Heads,

    Here’s my suggestion for dealing with the lunatic ratings of such propagandists and truth-deniers as Donald I and his craven brethren of like-minded nut jobs.

    How about we all just discuss this topic among ourselves and ignore Donald I’s provably false statements on the Craig case?

    That is until Donald I admits to at least one incontrovertible fact: “pleading guilty” in the court’s eyes equals “a guilty conviction”.

    So, how about we don’t even respond to him?

    Nip his obviously lame and duplicitous disinformation campaign right in the bud — shut his BS down.

    — Don’t respond to his complaints

    — Don’t try to correct him

    — Don’t take offense at his insults, or otherwise let him get to you

    –Just ignore him until he grows up or slithers away back into his slimy hole of silly lies

  15. Over a century ago, the Victorian biologist Thomas Huxley urged us to be “humble before the facts.” So let us follow his advice and simply say, Amen TommyB! Stick to the facts and ignore the ravenous crackpots like Annie Coulter and her minion trolls here. My apologies for the flame wars folks. Clowns don’t deserve the attention.

  16. The Boise paper is by no means a leftist rag exposed the story, after admitting they’d heard tales of Larry Craig’s cruises for a long time. The man is a closet case, first last and in-between.

  17. FYI ~ this is a copy/paste of an Editorial in today’s WA Post:

    Mr. Craig’s Plea
    More than gestures should be required to charge someone with a crime.

    Saturday, September 15, 2007; A16


    AMINNESOTA court will probably reject the attempt of Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho) to withdraw the guilty plea stemming from his arrest in a Minneapolis airport men’s room, and rightly so. That doesn’t mean that the sting operation that led to Mr. Craig’s predicament was legitimate.

    On June 11, an undercover officer who staked out the airport restroom claims, Mr. Craig used a series of signals to indicate interest in engaging in sex. Mr. Craig, the arrest report states, stared so long into the stall the officer occupied that the officer could tell that Mr. Craig had blue eyes; Mr. Craig then entered an adjoining stall and tapped his foot repeatedly, moved his foot to touch the officer’s and swiped his hand several times underneath the stall divider.

    Mr. Craig denied at the time — and continues to deny — that he solicited sex from the officer through these gestures. It’s a real shame, then, that instead of fighting the charges, Mr. Craig mailed in a guilty plea to disorderly conduct — seven weeks after the arrest. Mr. Craig should have been able to beat the charges because none of the gestures, in and of themselves, constitutes a crime. And Mr. Craig, even by the officer’s account, did not expose himself or commit any other act that would have breached the law.

    Mr. Craig faces an exceedingly difficult challenge in getting his plea thrown out, in large part because of his own actions. Most courts frown on revoking guilty pleas. In the Hennepin County, Minn., court, a defendant must prove that that plea was not “accurate, voluntary” or “knowingly and understandably made” in order to withdraw that plea. Mr. Craig insists he pleaded guilty because he was in a state of “intense anxiety” and “panic” after being arrested, especially because the arrest came so soon after he learned that the Idaho Statesman newspaper was investigating his sexuality. Because he was not represented by a lawyer, Mr. Craig argues he was “induced” to plead guilty by the officer’s promise that the arrest would not be made public. He also says that if he’d presented his plea in person, a judge would have been compelled to reject the plea because it would be obvious that Mr. Craig did not believe in his own guilt.

    These arguments probably don’t meet the legal standard, and Mr. Craig is at fault for not consulting a lawyer and for waiving his right to appear before a judge. Yet it seems clear that he pleaded guilty because his priority was not exoneration but avoiding exposure. What’s troubling is that the sting operation may have been counting on just that sort of motivation in order to extract guilty pleas from men who, in fact, had done nothing explicitly lewd or illegal.

    Many or even all of those charged, including Mr. Craig, probably were in the bathroom in search of sex. No one is in favor of sex in airport restrooms or any other place where it may cause public offense. But as with any other crime, those targeted and arrested for lewd or disorderly conduct ought first to be caught in a lewd or disorderly act. That wasn’t the case with Mr. Craig.

  18. Dear Larry Craig defenders,

    I disagree with those who say the police entrapped Craig for a non-crime. And I’m betting he will not successfully argue to get his current guilty plea over-turned.

    If you read the police report and listen to the audio of the recorded interrogation carefully, there are numerous incriminating elements, both present and logically inferred.

    A couple of points here:

    1) During the interrogation, Craig says something to the undercover officer to the effect of, “You tried to solicit me.”

    Now, if no money or words were exchanged, which Craig makes no mention of to support his counter accusation and defense, and there existed a solid divider blocking any non-verbal communication, but those by hand and foot signals: How would Craig be able to make that statement, “You solicited me,” knowingly?

    If Craig is to be believed, wouldn’t he have to be at the least familiar with those operational non-verbal signals — indicating sexual solicitation — mutually established and agreed to as happening by both Craig and the policeman in their statements and reporting and their statements on the reporting?

    So, Craig is either at the least a closeted bi-sexual and is lying about his past, or he’s lying now about this incident.

    I cannot see how he can have it both ways. But I’m willing to listen to alternative theories.

    2) This might gross some people out, but it is perhaps nonetheless the most damning proof. Craig says he was in the bathroom to use it for its intended purpose. Further, he says he was reaching down to pick up paper, perhaps even toilet paper. But the police report and Craign’s subsequent denials make no mention of flushing.

    So, Craig is either a non-flusher, yuuuuck, or he wasn’t really in the bathroom to relieve himself in the first place.


  19. I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again:

    How NICE would be
    If we would see
    Such interest in such things
    As our domains
    Or who remains
    Here in “illegal” rings.

    Or maybe crime?
    Foreclosure time?
    Contaminated food?
    How China now
    Will show us how
    They CAN sure change our mood?

    Or maybe we
    Might even see
    Words that remind us all
    The GOOD around
    Us to be found …
    Might cushion every fall?

    But mention SEX
    Or ANY hex
    Accompanying that word
    And as I see
    In front of me
    The comments form a HERD!

    NO WONDER those
    Who wear the clothes
    Pretending while they do
    To “represent”
    When they are sent
    To D.C. form a ZOO!

    As long as we
    Can ONLY be
    Enticed by SEX they ply
    What monitor
    Will they endure
    When votes mean LIVE-OR-DIE?

    So mercy-be,
    I says to me,
    One MORE amazing day
    When “News” is ALL
    About the fall
    By ONE who went to play!

    Who checked the votes
    Or took the notes
    Of all the rest back there?
    Is D.C. *less*
    Than this one mess?
    If so THAT is our scare!!!

    If you can’t find anything on this page to laugh at then cry your eyes out and be done with it.

    Rome is burning and the strings on the fiddle are just about to break.

    … or so it seems to me …

  20. It appears that many of these people commenting are not from Idaho. Or maybe new to the area. For those of us who have lived here long engouh to remember LaRocco, Andrus, Church, Chenowith, and the list goes on…. are outraged at the Idaho Republican party. I find it almost impossible that they have not been aware of Craig’s desires. I’ve talked with people who’ve know Craig his whole life.. they all knew and suspected this. What shocks me is the people of Idaho are letting the C.L. Butch, Risch, and many others off the hook here. Craig has voted directly opposite of his actions in Congress & Senate for years.

    It is high time that we all hold the Idaho Repbulican party responsible for tolerating this behavior.

    It is time for Idaho to go Blue!!

    The bottom line is we need to encourage everyone to vote.. that is everyone. We have such a poor turn out.. no wonder we get these bozos in office.

  21. Donald… it is funny to me that you claim Craig’s accusers are “anti-gay”. Are you not aware that Larry Craig, at least politically speaking, is undeniably anti-gay?! Makes you wonder why his accusers would accuse him of agreeing with them. Seems kind of silly, don’t ya think?

    Also, he plead guilty. Do you know what this means? He admitted he was guilty. He admitted, in a legal context with which he should be very familiar as a lawyer, that he tried to solicit sex in a public bathroom. He is not getting this overturned. Get over it. if they overturn a lawyer/senator’s guilty plea then they will have to give all defendants the right to withdraw their plea for months following their plea. Ridiculous, of course. He will be laughed out of court.