The Republican Senator from Idaho continues to deny he is gay, but decided not to seek re-election after pleading guilty to lewd conduct in an airport menâ€™s room.
Claims to fame: Republican U.S. Senator from Idaho (1991-2008); former U.S. House rep (1981-1991); National Rifle Association board member; Idaho Hall of Fame inductee; farmer/rancher; anti-gay, not-a-gay gay Republican (who earned a 100% rating from the Christian Coalition in 2003); menâ€™s-room-sex cruiser; denial queen; biggest Republican laughingstock of 2007
Moral apex: Itâ€™s hard to choose. There is, of course, his June 11, 2007, arrest for lew conduct (a.k.a. â€œcottagingâ€œ) in a menâ€™s room at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Hereâ€™s the police report:
At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I oved my foot up and down slowly. â€¦ The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area. Craig then proceeded to swipe his left hand under the stall divider several times, with the palm of his hand facing upward. â€¦
But then thereâ€™s his claim that he was railroaded into pleading guilty (albeit to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct, for which he received â€œa suspended 10-day jail sentence, was fined more than $500 and was placed on unsupervised probation for one yearâ€ [NYT]).
Then thereâ€™s his resignation from his Senate seat. Then thereâ€™s his withdrawal of his resignation of his Senate seat
Then thereâ€™s his attempt to have his own guilty plea overturned. (It didnâ€™t work; you canâ€™t just â€œwithdrawâ€ a guilty plea.)
Then thereâ€™s his insistence that heâ€™s not gay (not, I tell you, not, not, not!).
Then thereâ€™s the allegations that his dalliances with other men were known as far back as the 1980s â€” with â€œwith underage congressional pages,â€ no less (but heâ€™s still not gay!).
Then thereâ€™s the â€œ40-year-old man [who] reported having oral sex with Craig at Washingtonâ€™s Union Station, probably in 2004,â€ and the â€œman who said Craig made a sexual advance toward him at the University of Idaho in 1967 and a man who said Craig â€˜cruisedâ€™ him for sex in 1994 at the REI store in Boise.â€
Thereâ€™s a lot.
Hereâ€™s just one of Larryâ€™s versions of the story:
Iâ€™m a commuter. As you know Mark, Suzanne and I decided to build a home back in Idaho. (We have) seven grandbabies here, our familyâ€™s here, and that I would become the commuter for the balance of my time in Washington, so that we wouldnâ€™t miss those grandbabies growing up. So nearly every week I was flying through and stopping at the Minneapolis airport, and walking from one side to the other side of it to catch an airplane to Washington. Iâ€™ve learned to do that with my lifestyle for Idaho. When I stop, I often times go to a bathroom. Itâ€™s early in the morning when I leave here, so about the time I get to Minneapolis, Iâ€™ve had several cups of coffee, so itâ€™s a natural thing I do before I go on to Washington.
. . .
I go to bathrooms to go to bathrooms. I walked in that morning into a sting, that I had no idea I was walking into. I suspect every American, or anyone who wanted to listen or try at all has heard the tape of the interrogation. They know a great deal of the detail that has been told by others. Yes, I walked by the stalls. I looked to see if they were empty, most of them were full, or apparently all of them were full as I recall. I stood back, I waited, I kept looking â€” finally, one opened up. I walked in, I put my suit case down â€” I sat down on a bathroom stool. I did not realize that to look into a stall, set a suitcase in front of you was a gay action, or at least according to this law enforcement officer. He was watching out through a door profiling me. â€œOh my goodness he did this, oh my goodness he did that.â€ At least thatâ€™s my reaction to what I finally experienced.
Something caught my eye. I glanced down. Whether it was foot movement close to my stall, I was spreading my legs, and uh I saw paper â€” it looked like it was stuck to the heel of my shoe. â€¦ Toilet paper. I donâ€™t know if youâ€™ve ever seen anyone walk out of a toilet with toilet paper stuck to their shoeâ€¦.
Well, I reached down, I pulled it off. My hand went below the divider. Within seconds there was a card under the divider that said â€œpolice,â€ and the motion of the finger to the door. And I said â€œno!â€ â€” then the motion again.
I stood up, stepped out and was physically jerked out of the bathroom in to a lobby area. And I said â€œwhatâ€™s going on here, what are you doing?â€ â€œYouâ€™re under arrest.â€ I said â€œIâ€™ve got a plane to catch, what are you doing?â€
At about that time, and I was attempting to pull away â€” about that time another officer came up, grabbed me by the other arm and said â€œif you donâ€™t behave, weâ€™re going to arrest you and throw you in jail.â€ Iâ€™ve never been arrested in my life.
I was blown away.
. . .
[The arresting officer] was trying to put words in my mouth, I refused to allow that to happen. I knew what had gone on there. Oh he said, â€œjust plead guilty and file it in the court, pay a fine, it will go away, and I wonâ€™t call the media.â€ Those are pretty intimidating things.
. . .
I donâ€™t know that I touched his foot. In the interrogation, while he attempted to get me to say things that werenâ€™t true â€” none of that came up in the interrogation. That was in the report that he obviously spent an awful lot of time and put an awful lot of detail into. Sounds to me like this is an officer who was more interested in an arrest than he was in the facts.
â€” Larry Craig
Interview with Mark Johnson, KTVB
October 16, 2007
Sounds to us like this is an officer who was simply very clear in his recollection of the facts. â€œCraig,â€ Sgt. Dave Karsnia added, â€œwould look down at his hands, â€˜fidgetâ€™ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again.â€
Where the â€œwide stanceâ€ line comes from:
According to the arrest report prepared by Sgt. Dave Karsnia, â€œCraig stated â€¦ He has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine.â€ Craig never used the term â€œwide stanceâ€ himself. According to the transcript of the police interogation, Sgt. Karsnia asked: â€œDid you do anything with your feet?â€ and Craig replied: â€œPositioned them, I donâ€™t know. I donâ€™t know at the time. Iâ€™m a fairly wide guy.â€
When the officer asked Craig about the use of his hands, Craig said that he reached down with his right hand to pick up a piece of paper that was on the floor. The officer disputed Craigâ€™s version by saying â€œthere was not a piece of paper on the bathroom floor, nor did Craig pick up a piece of paper.â€ Craig also disputed the officerâ€™s assertion about the position of his hand, claiming that his right palm was faced down as he picked up the paper from the floor. The officer disputed Craigâ€™s version, alleging that Craig used his left hand because his thumb â€œwas positioned in a faceward motion.â€ During the interview and in the incident report, the officer commented that Craig either disagreed with what happened in the restroom or could not recall the events as they happened.
Ultimate hypocrisy: The Iâ€™m-Not-Gay Gay Republicanâ€™s guide to voting, or: a few relevant items from Larry Craigâ€™s Senate voting record, culled from OnTheIssues.com:
Larry Craig on Civil Rights
Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Sep 1996)
Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)
Rated 25% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
â€¢ Voted to cut off debate on the proposed 2006 Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage;
â€¢ Voted against the 1996 bill prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, which,â€ notes MediaMatters, â€œfailed by one vote in the Senate.â€ Another way of looking at it: Larry Craig singlehandedly prevented gay and lesbian Americans from protection against being fired just because of who they are.
Fascinating, especially for someone with a 0% rating from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, â€œindicating opposition to church-state separation,â€ and a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, indicatingâ€¦ well, indicating that a certain self-loathing (water-)closet queen â€” so ashamed of who and what he is that he feels the need to consign himself to seeking out sleazy, anonymous sex in public restrooms â€” is so bitter and jealous of every out, proud, and well-adjusted gay American that he wants to punish them all for daring to live the open and honest existence he can only dream of.
Well, thatâ€™s what it indicates to us; your mileage may vary.
(For the record, heâ€™s no friend to women or minorities, either; Larry Craig would rather throw unwanted stem cells in the garbage than use them to save lives; doesnâ€™t give a damn if children die without health insurance; and is a corporate-whoring warmonger who thinks the government should be able to spy on you, anytime, anywhere. Donâ€™t believe us? Check the link.)
â€¢ Until news of his arrest came out (the cover-up lasted months), Craig was U.S. Senate co-chair of the Mitt Romney for President campaign. When the toilet lid was blown open, Craig â€œresignedâ€ (read: got dumped) from the campaign â€” and, almost simultaneously, the Romney campaign canceled a Boise whistle-stop. (Gee, coincidence? Not.)
Craig was bitter, to say the least. â€œI was very proud of my association with Mitt Romney,â€ Craig told NBCâ€™s Matt Lauer in October, 2007. â€œIâ€™d worked hard for him here in the state. I was a co-chair of his campaign on Capitol Hill. And he not only threw me under his campaign bus, he backed up and ran over me again.â€
â€¢ Larry likes to make up words, such as â€œmug-shottedâ€ and â€œcriticizerâ€:
I went down, I was interrogated. I was fingerprinted, I was mug-shotted.
â€” Larry Craig
Interview with Mark Johnson, KTVB
October 16, 2007
Iâ€™ve had criticism thrown at me. But Iâ€™ve never had the criticizer, or the investigator go out and try to question all my friends.
â€¢ In November, 2007, Mike Jones, the â€œmale escortâ€ whose affair with megachurch superstar Ted Haggard, claimed that Larry Craig was also a client. Of course, Craig denied the allegation â€” but then again, noted KESQ-TV, Haggard â€œoriginally denied Jonesâ€™ allegations of sexual relations in 2006,â€ too.
â€¢ By December, 2007, a total of eight gay men had â€œcome forward since news of U.S. Sen. Larry Craigâ€™s guilty plea [to] say they had sex with Craig or that he made a sexual advance or that he paid them unusual attention.â€
â€¢ In September, 2007, the â€œinfamous airport menâ€™s room where Sen. Larry Craig was arrested is getting new stall dividers that drop nearly to the floor to make it a less inviting spot for sexual liaisons.â€
â€¢ Craig used â€œabout $23,000 in campaign money on lawyers in his ethics investigation.â€ It that ethical? It it even legal? Experts disagree â€” so it looks like itâ€™s up to the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee to sort it all outâ€¦ while theyâ€™re deciding whether or not â€œCraig violated Senate ethics rules by engaging in behavior that reflects poorly on the institution.â€
Denial is Not a River in Egypt quote:
I am not gay; I never have been gay.
â€” Larry Craig
August 28, 2007
More memorable quotes:
Bad boy, Bill Clinton. Youâ€™re a naughty boy The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy. Iâ€™m going to speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy.
â€” Larry Craig
â€œMeet The Pressâ€
January 24, 1999
What do you think of that?
â€” Larry Craig,
handing his Senate business card
to the arresting officer
Iâ€™ve been in this business 27 years in the public eye here. I donâ€™t go around anywhere hitting on men, and by God, if I did, I wouldnâ€™t do it in Boise, Idaho! Jiminy!
â€” Larry Craig
to the Idaho Statesman
â€¦I made a big mistake. I didnâ€™t seek counsel. I didnâ€™t tell this wonderful woman sitting behind meâ€¦ I didnâ€™t tell my staff. I sought my own counsel, and I was a very bad counsel.
â€” Larry Craig
Interview with Mark Johnson, KTVB
October 16, 2007
Everything I was getting from Washington, from Republican leadership was they were going to force me out â€” they were going to force me to resign. Thatâ€™s what I believed.
. . .
I was being all but ordered to resign. â€¦ Circumstances changed.
Quotes ripest for parody (Hey, kids! Make up your own retorts!):
I stand my ground.
My dad â€¦ said, â€™son when you start a job, you stay in there and finish it, no matter how tough it gets.â€™
Resigning would have been the easy way out. Duck my head and leave.
Yeah, a few had lopped off my head and rolled it right down the street.
As this message is posted, I have apppeared on the Ed Schultz Show, a nationally syndicated radio program broadcast in more than 100 cities and on Sirius Satellite. On the show I have called on Senator Larry Craig to end his years of hypocrisy by leveling with Idahoans about who he really is. I am also calling upon several prominent Idaho social conservative leaders to ask them how they square their anti-gay positions with their support for this leader.
I have done extensive research into this case, including trips to the Pacific Northwest to meet with men who have say they have physical relations with the Senator. I have also met with a man here in Washington, D.C., who says the same â€” and that these incidents occurred in the bathrooms of Union Station. None of these men know each other, or knew that I was talking to others. They all reported similar personal characteristics about the Senator, which lead me to believe, beyond any doubt, that their stories are valid.
Larry Craig being mentioned as possibly connected to Congressional scandals is nothing new. Check out these video clips from 1982 when he preemptively denied his involvement in a Congressional sex and drug scandal. (I love what he says about unmarried people back then and how often do politicians issue preemptive denials based on rumors?)
Senator Craig has consistently relied on the support of Idahoâ€™s â€œvalues voters,â€ but he has not been honest with them about his own conduct. Conservatives and liberals are both standing up and recognizing the hypocrisy of elected officials like Senator Larry Craig. The time for treating Americans one way and behaving in another is over.
â€” Mike Rogers
â€¦outing Larry Craig nearly eight months before Craigâ€™s arrest and one full year before news of the arrest was made public
Senator Larry Craigâ€¦. Whatâ€™s with the gay bashing?
October 17, 2006
On Wednesday, the Spokane Spokesman-Review made the controversial decision to run a story about rumors swirling around Idaho Senator Larry Craig â€” a story that likely never would have seen the light of day a few short years ago. The basics of the story are as follows: Gay-rights activist Mike Rogers claimed on his blog and a syndicated radio program that confidential sources had provided him information concerning consensual homosexual relationships involving Craig. The senator responded to the story through a spokesperson, calling it â€˜completely ridiculous.â€™
Just so we are clearâ€¦ I, too, think itâ€™s â€œcompletely ridiculousâ€ for an anti-gay Senator to have sex in Union Station bathrooms. See, Craigâ€™s office and I do agree on something.
â€” Mike Rogers
CBS chimes in on Larry Craig
October 20, 2006
I â€“ I actually served in the House with him, and my sense tells me to just shut up. [laughter] [applause]
â€” Openly gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
to the question:
â€œWhat does your gaydar tell you about him [Craig]?â€
â€œReal Time with Bill Maherâ€
October 20, 2006
I have a certain sympathy for closeted gay men and lesbians. I think that being so deeply ashamed of a part of yourself thatâ€™s so fundamental, and that you can do nothing to change, must be close to unbearable; and the knowledge that coming clean would involve not only admitting that youâ€™re gay, but also that you have lied for years to people you care about, and who trust you, would only make it that much worse. But my sympathy vanishes when it comes to people who support amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage, as Craig did. There are limits to what you
get to do to protect your own secrets, and being willing to permanently destroy gay men and lesbiansâ€™ chances to marry the people they love, and with whom they have found happiness, is way, way outside them.
. . .
The laws are meant to apply to everyone, Senators included. No one gets to violate laws he himself supports and then use the fact that he has been elected to high office to get himself off the hook. Being elected Senator means being given a position of trust and responsibility that you should work every day to be worthy of, not a Get Out Of Jail Free card.
â€” Obsidian Wings
August 27, 2007
All we know is, Craigâ€™s opening line from todayâ€™s news conference at which he â€” again, and repeatedly â€” denied that heâ€™s gay will surely make the late-night comedy rounds. Craigâ€™s opener: â€œThank you for coming out today.â€
â€” Mary Ann Akers
Larry Craig: Still Not Gay
August 28, 2007
Back in October, scads of right-wing pundits pretended that Craigâ€™s bathroom behavior was irrelevant to them not because they actually believed that (as their commentary now demonstrates), but only because they were petrified that the revelation of his behavior in October would harm Republican electoral prospects. It is just conclusively clear that so many of them insisted to their readers something they obviously did not believe â€” that nothing could be less relevant than whether Larry Craig commits adultery with anonymous men in bathrooms and the only grotesque immorality is from those who report such matters.
Today, with the election safely over, that exact same behavior makes Craig a scumbag who should resign. Who would ever listen to anyone who engages in such patently duplicitous advocacy? Shouldnâ€™t all the people who were depicting Mike Rogers as Satanâ€™s spawn for reporting something so clearly irrelevant as Senator Craigâ€™s bathroom sex be condemning with equal vigor their comrades who, today, cite that same bathroom sex as a ground for mocking Craig and even demanding that he resign from the Senate? How can it possibly be that Mike Rogers was despicable slime for reporting on Craigâ€™s bathroom behavior without its being true that Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt and Mark Steyn are all despicable slime for demanding that he resign based on the same behavior?
â€” Glenn Greenwald
Larry Craigâ€™s bathroom behavior
and the right wing â€” then and now
August 28, 2007
If we were to go back over the last few decades and do a tally on which side â€” left or right â€” had more high-profile sex scandals, I have a hunch itâ€™d be about even. The difference, however, is that only one side claims the moral high-ground, holds itself out as the arbiter of virtue, is quick to judge moral/sexual failings in others, and wants desperately to use the power of the state to regulate (and ban) some of the behavior they personally engage in. â€¦
Conservatives are demoralized because their leaders keep getting caught in sex scandals? Perhaps, if they stopped trying to use sex as a culture-war weapon, these revelations wouldnâ€™t be so damaging. Indeed, perhaps if the right would give up on demonizing gays, then men like Craig wouldnâ€™t be forced to go into menâ€™s rooms looking for sex partners in the first place.
I donâ€™t want the right to feel dispirited because of these scandals; I want them to give up. Give up on using gays as a wedge issue. Give up on abstinence-only policies that donâ€™t work. Give up on constitutional amendments regarding personal behavior. Give up on holding up the GOP up as the authority on what should and shouldnâ€™t be allowed in bedrooms.
Or donâ€™t. Go ahead and continue to embrace hypocrisy. Keep hiding your head in your hands every time a Larry Craig gets caught. Continue to argue that itâ€™s not at all odd that your presidential front-runner is a thrice-married adulterer.
â€” Steve Benen
â€˜Itâ€™s the hypocrisy that people canâ€™t standâ€™
August 28, 2007
I find the whole Larry Craig thing quite sad. Itâ€™s sad for his family, for his constituents, but mostly, sad for Craig.
Craig hates himself, and that is sad, no matter how you slice it. His explanations for the events in Minnesota are so ridiculous, they defy logic and credibility, even in Idaho.
â€” John Aravosis
Better To Be Thought A Fool
August 28, 2007
Yep, thatâ€™s right Senator Craig, you heard me right, I want to thank you. You see, you have just shown millions of parents who have gay and lesbian children why they absolutely, positively MUST encourage their children to come out and proudly be who they are. You have also confirmed why all parents should not only accept their gay and lesbian children but embrace and love their gay and lesbian children just exactly as they are.
And Senator Craig, you have done a marvelous job of showing millions of parents just how toxic and harmful the closet is and why all parents need to encourage their gay and lesbian children to come out into the sunshine and proudly celebrate who they are. I mean after all, no truly good and loving parent would ever wish upon their beloved child the pitiful, tortured, hypocritical, and pathetic existence you have endured for decades.
But that is not all you have done for the gay and lesbian community Senator. In addition to all of the above, you have also confirmed for the many parents like me who have embraced their gay and lesbian children from the start what great gifts unconditional love and acceptance are for our children. Could there be any greater family or Christian value than that Senator?
â€” Seething Mom
Dear Senator Larry Craig from Idaho
August 29, 2007
If Larry Craig were held to the standard of sexual conduct he imposes on the U.S. armed forces, heâ€™d be out of his job.
Fourteen years ago, in his first term as a Republican senator from Idaho, Craig helped to enact the militaryâ€™s â€œdonâ€™t ask, donâ€™t tellâ€ policy. â€¦
[T]he Idaho Statesman reports three other incidents, from 1967 to 2004, in which Craig allegedly made similar overtures. â€¦ These accounts, combined with Craigâ€™s arrest report, would easily get him thrown out of the Army if he were a soldier.
Has Craigâ€™s arrest chastened him about DADT? Not a bit. Two weeks ago, in a letter to a constituent, he reiterated his support for the policy. â€¦
Now you know why Craig is trying to withdraw his guilty plea. The cardinal rule of â€œdonâ€™t ask, donâ€™t tellâ€ isnâ€™t heterosexuality. Itâ€™s hypocrisy. The one thing you canâ€™t do is tell the truth.
â€” William Saletan
Same Sex: Larry Craigâ€™s anti-gay hypocrisy
August 30, 2007
Mark Johnson: We gave folks an opportunity on our website to ask questions â€” and boy did they submit the questions. Many of them youâ€™ve answered here tonight. Mark from Boiseâ€¦ not this Mark from Boise â€” had one that I think you might find interesting. Mark writes â€œYou are accused of a sex crime without physically committing one. Would you support legislation that protects citizens from police entrapment in restrooms and other public places.
Sen. Larry Craig: Mark, Iâ€™d have to take a very seri
ous look at that. Iâ€™ve not only heard from Mark â€” Iâ€™ve heard from a lot of citizens and e-mailers. Theyâ€™ve felt they got entrapped, they felt they got profiled. The worst thing in a free society is to have law enforcement profiling people because they look a certain way, therefore they must be. That is just wrong. Iâ€™ve always opposed it â€” and Iâ€™ll continue to oppose it. If legislation like that comes along, Iâ€™ll take a very serious look at it. Iâ€™m innocent, Iâ€™ve been through it. Itâ€™s not a very pleasant experience. Itâ€™s changed my life, itâ€™s changed my familyâ€™s life, it may have changed the political life in Idaho, I donâ€™t know. But, it is the question â€” a very important one.
So, if someone proposes such legislation to protect citizens from profiling â€” doesnâ€™t sound like heâ€™s ready to take up activist arms and do it himself â€” how many of Larryâ€™s GOP colleagues do you think are going to co-sign it? A bill that protects busts of people for â€œlooking a certain wayâ€ (guess this time he couldnâ€™t squeak out â€œgayâ€) when caught up in a public restroom sex sting? These stings focus almost exclusively on gay men cruising in these public facilities â€” an issue right there that probably has Republicans squirming.
Oh my, the gift that keeps on givingâ€¦ :)
â€” Pam Spaulding
Larry Craig Considers
Anti-Bathroom Sting Legislation
October 17, 2007
Yesterday, Sen. Larry Craig announced that he is not going to step down because he is still able to work effectively with his fellow senators. Sen. Craigâ€™s exact quote was, â€œNo one reaches across the aisle like I do.â€
â€” Conan Oâ€™Brien
Larry Edwin Craig (born July 20, 1945) is a former Republican politician from the U.S. state of Idaho. He served 18 years in the U.S. Senate (1991â€“2009), preceded by 10 years in the U.S. House, representing Idaho's first district (1981â€“91). His 28 years in the Congress rank as the second-longest in Idaho history, trailing only William Borah, who served over 32 years in the Senate. In addition to serving in Congress, Craig has been a member of the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association since 1983. Craig has also been selected for induction into the Idaho Hall of Fame. Although he was selected in March 2007, the announcement was made in October 2007.
On August 27, 2007, the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call revealed that Craig had been arrested for lewd conduct in the men's restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on June 11, 2007, and entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct on August 8, 2007. Craig announced his intention to resign from the Senate at a news conference on September 1, 2007, but later decided to finish the remainder of his term.
Craig was not a candidate for re-election in 2008. He was succeeded by Lieutenant Governor and former Governor Jim Risch who won the seat in the November 2008 election.
On June 11, 2007, Craig was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on suspicion of lewd conduct in a men's restroom, where he was accused of soliciting an undercover police officer for sexual activity. During the resulting interview with the arresting officer, Craig insisted upon his innocence, disputing the officer's version of the event by stating that he merely had a "wide stance" and that he had been picking a piece of paper from the floor.
In spite of his claims of innocence during the interview, Craig later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct by signing and mailing a plea petition, dated August 1, 2007, to the Hennepin County District Court in Minnesota. He paid $575, including fines and fees. Senator Craig signed the petition to enter his guilty plea, which contained the provisions, "I understand that the court will not accept a plea of guilty from anyone who claims to be innocent... I now make no claim that I am innocent of the charge to which I am entering a plea of guilty." Craig mailed his signed petition to the court, and his petition to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge was accepted and filed by the court on August 8, 2007. In an August 28, 2007, press conference Craig regretted filing the guilty plea, stating "In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously"
t a news conference on September 1, 2007, Craig announced his intent to resign, "with sadness and deep regret", effective September 30, 2007. On September 4, 2007, a spokesperson for Craig indicated that he was reconsidering his decision to resign, if his conviction was rapidly overturned and his committee assignments were restored. The following week, Craig's attorneys filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing that it "was not knowing and intelligent and therefore was in violation of his constitutional rights." The motion was ultimately denied, upholding the initial guilty plea.
Following the ruling, Craig announced that despite his previous statements to the contrary, he would serve out his Senate term. He stated that he intended to "continue my effort to clear my name in the Senate Ethics Committee something that is not possible if I am not serving in the Senate." Craig did not seek reelection in 2008 and left office on January 3, 2009.
Both the 2009 documentary Outrage and the magazine Newsweek (June 7, 2010 issue) listed Craig, among others, as a prominent conservative politician who had a record of anti-gay legislation and then caught in a gay sex scandal.