Sen. Larry Craig
has opened a new round in his legal battle stemming from
his airport restroom arrest, appealing a judge's refusal to
let him to withdraw his guilty plea on
a disorderly conduct charge. Craig's appeal was
filed Monday at the Minnesota court of appeals, less than
two weeks after Hennepin County district court judge
Charles Porter refused to overturn the plea.
filing did not detail the basis for the appeal, noting only
that Craig was appealing Porter's October 4 order. The
documents were dated with Friday's date but were
received and stamped by the appeals court on Monday.
outset, Senator Craig has maintained that he is innocent of
any illegal conduct at the Minneapolis airport,'' Craig's
lead attorney, Billy Martin, said in a statement.
''Like every other citizen, Senator Craig has the
constitutional right to make every effort to clear his
Republican from Idaho, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct
in August after he was accused of soliciting sex in a
bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul
International Airport in June.
A spokesman for
the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and
operates the airport, said the guilty plea reflected Craig's
conduct in the public restroom.
''The facts in
the case speak for themselves, and we are confident the
senator's guilty plea will stand,'' spokesman Patrick Hogan
said in a statement.
The appeals court
must find there's been an ''abuse of discretion'' by
the trial judge before overturning a ruling -- in other
words, that some aspect of the ruling was decided
It would most
likely be well into 2008 before the court of appeals rules
on the case. The process by which both sides prepare their
legal briefs alone usually stretches to more than 100
days, and the court of appeals faces a heavy caseload.
term comes to an end next year.
Republicans have made it clear they wish Craig would leave
office and let them forget the episode that has fueled
jokes on late-night television for weeks.
Craig says he is
not gay, and he and his wife, Suzanne, said their
marriage is based on love and not a cover for a gay
lifestyle. ''I would never do that...that's almost
like selling your soul for something,'' Mrs. Craig
told NBC's Matt Lauer in an interview to be broadcast
''I love this
woman very, very much,'' Craig said in the interview, taped
at their Eagle, Idaho, home with his wife by his side. ''And
the day I found her I fell in love, deeply in love.
And that's lasted -- we're heading toward our 25th
In the same
interview the senator discussed his relationship with
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Craig was
Senate liaison for Romney's campaign, a post he
abandoned when the scandal came to light.
''I was very
proud of my association with Mitt Romney,'' Craig said.
''And he not only threw me under his campaign bus, he backed
up and ran over me again.'' (Amy Forliti, AP)