Craig lawyer: He may stay in the Senate no matter what

The Idaho senator could remain in office even if he isn't allowed to withdraw his guilty plea.


Tim Grieve
September 28, 2007 6:16PM (UTC)

Remember how Idaho Sen. Larry Craig was going to resign from the Senate on Sept. 30? Then remember how he was maybe not going to resign if -- and only if -- he could get his guilty plea withdrawn by Sept. 30? And then remember how Craig put off his plan to resign because the judge hearing his case hasn't ruled yet?

Well, here's the latest from Craig's attorney. Appearing on "Hardball" Thursday night, lawyer Stanley Brand said that it's "conceivable" that Craig will remain in office through the end of his term, "especially if he gets some type of relief in Minnesota." "But," Brand added quickly, "I don't think it depends on that."

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Translation: Craig may be sticking around even if the judge in Minneapolis doesn't let him withdraw his guilty plea.

As for the Senate Ethics Committee? Brand said he thinks it's "inconceivable" that the Senate "will open the door to bringing cases against senators" for committing "misdemeanors that have nothing to do with the performance of official duties."

"I know they say they have the right to discipline people for bringing discredit on the Senate," Brand said. "That's a vague standard. That's well beyond where we are in 2007. I can't imagine that 99 other senators want to be judged by that standard."

Chris Matthews agreed, and in the process he equated Craig's arrest and conviction for criminal conduct in an airport men's room with a garden-variety traffic ticket. "Yes," he said, "you wonder about all the traffic violations and other kinds of problems [senators] would be facing."


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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