Ex-Senator Larry Craig ends legal challenges to gay cruising conviction
Former United States Senator Larry Craig has finally decided to accept his 2007 conviction for lewd conduct in an airport toilet.
While he still maintains he was not attempting to solicit sex from an undercover police officer, his lawyers announced last week that he will not be asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to consider his conviction, calling it a “futile exercise.”
The 111th Congress was sworn in last week – Craig decided not to stand for re-election, bringing to an end a career that began with his election to the House of Representatives in 1980, the year Ronald Reagan won the Presidency.
In 1982 Congressman Craig issued a denial that he was involved in a scandal involving gay sex between Congressmen and underage pages, despite the fact that he had not been publicly implicated.
He married a year later and was elected to the Senate in 1990, representing Idaho.
In February 2008 the US Senate Ethics Committee criticised Senator Craig over the incident which led to him being arrested for cruising, but decided to take no further action against him.
He was arrested on June 11th 2007 by an undercover police officer in a Minneapolis airport toilet.
He said the lawmaker had engaged in conduct “often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct.”
Minutes after his arrest for lewd conduct, Craig, 63, denied soliciting for sex, saying: “I’m not gay. I don’t do these kinds of things.”
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The father of three later announced he would challenge his guilty plea and claimed that he admitted to the charge in a panic to avoid triggering a story about his sexuality in his hometown newspaper.
The six-member Ethics Committee said in a letter to Senator Craig that in their view he he “committed the offence to which you pleaded guilty” and “entered your plea knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently.”
They said he had brought shame on the Senate by challenging his plea.
He first announced he intended to resign by September 30th 2007, then said he was reconsidering.
He later said he would wait until after his appeal against his guilty plea was heard.
Craig then announced that despite the court decision against him he would remain in the Senate until the end of his term.