Opinion: BREAKING NEWS: Senator arrested in airport restroom
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Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho was arrested by a plainclothes police officer investigating complaints of lewd conduct in a men’s restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to a report just issued by Roll Call.
The report said the incident happened just after noon on June 11.
A spokesman for Craig, a Republican, called the incident a ‘he said/he said misunderstanding.’ Later, Craig denied he had engaged in any ‘inappropriate conduct’ and said police had misunderstood his actions. A full story by The Times’ Richard Simon appears here on this website and in Tuesday’s print editions.
But according to Roll Call, Craig, who is married with three grown children, pleaded guilty on Aug. 8 to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge in Hennepin County District Court and paid more than $500 in fees and fines. A 10-day jail sentence was stayed and a one-year probation imposed.
According to the police report obtained by Roll Call, Sgt. Dave Karsnia of the airport police was investigating a men’s room where frequent arrests have been made for sexual activity. Soon after the plainclothes officer took a seat in a stall, he noticed ‘an older white male with gray hair standing outside my stall.’ He peered through a crack in the door for two minutes before entering the adjacent stall.
The officer reported that Craig tapped his right foot, ‘a common signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct.’ Craig allegedly moved his right foot so that it touched the officer’s left foot. When the officer flashed his badge beneath the stall wall, Craig reportedly exclaimed, ‘No!’ The officer informed him he was under arrest and took him for 45 minutes of interrogation and photographing.
At one point during that session, Craig allegedly passed over a business card identifying him as a U.S. senator and said, ‘What do you think about that?’
During a tape-recorded interview the officer reported Craig ‘either disagreed with me or ‘didn’t recall’ the events as they happened.’ At one point Craig reported he reached down to pick up a piece of paper, but the officer said there was none on the floor.
In October 2006, Craig’s office publicly denied allegations that he was a homosexual made by a gay activist website, calling it ‘completely ridiculous’ with ‘no basis in fact.’
A spokesman for the Mitt Romney campaign announced today that Craig had stepped down from his role in that effort.
The Roll Call article by John McArdle is available online only to subscribers.