While we were in a congressional hearing room Monday listening to the testimony of Gen. David Petraeus and ambassador Ryan Crocker, lawyers for Sen. Larry Craig were filing court papers in Minnesota aimed at getting the Idaho Republican's men's room guilty plea reversed.
The upshot of the argument: When Craig was arrested in a men's room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, he "panicked" because he thought that the arrest would be made public and then prompt the Idaho Statesman to publish a story based on its investigation into allegations about his sexual conduct. "While in this state of intense anxiety," Craig's lawyers say, "Sen. Craig felt compelled to grasp the lifeline offered to him by the police officer; namely, that if he were to submit to an interview and plead guilty, then none of the officer's allegations would be made public. Thus, rather than seek legal advice from an attorney to assist him in publicly fighting these charges and potentially protract the issue, Senator Craig's panic drove him to accept a guilty plea, the terms of which offered him what he thought was a private, expeditious resolution of this matter."
One major problem with the "panic" theory: Craig was arrested in Minnesota on June 11. He didn't sign the legal document in which he pleaded guilty until Aug. 1, more than a month and a half later.