Maybe the "wide stance" was a better argument

A Minnesota judge dismantles the motion to withdraw Larry Craig's guilty plea.

Published October 4, 2007 7:17PM (EDT)

We've just read the 27-page ruling in which Judge Charles Porter denies Sen. Larry Craig's request to withdraw his guilty plea in the Minneapolis bathroom case. The upshot: The senator knew what he was doing when he pleaded guilty, and the political embarrassment he has felt as a result of his plea isn't grounds for withdrawing it.

Oh, and Senator: You can't have it both ways.

The highlights:

On the crime of disorderly conduct: "The Defendant knew or should have known his entrance into Sgt. Karsnia's stall with his eyes, foot and hand are the type of acts that would 'tend reasonably to arouse alarm, anger or resentment in others.'"

On Craig's claim that the court shouldn't have accepted his guilty plea in the first place: "The Defendant argues that, because the factual basis in the petition lacks detail, he was therefore not aware of the facts underlying his conduct coinciding with the elements of the offense, or more importantly, that he was not admitting to have engaged in that conduct. This is illogical. The Defendant admits in his post-conviction affidavit that he pled in haste in an effort to avoid the public disclosure of the very facts which he now maintains should have been painstakingly detailed in the petition."

On Craig's claim that a judge should have questioned him about his guilty plea before accepting it: "The Defendant reasons that if Judge Larson had questioned him live, Judge Larson would have realized the Defendant did not intend to plead guilty to the specific facts alleged by Sgt. Karsnia. This is a circular argument. The Defendant chose not to appear and to enter his plea by mail just so he could avoid any such [public] inquiry into his conduct. He kept many of the facts out of the record in so doing. He cannot now complain that he should not have been allowed to take advantage of an approved method to enter a misdemeanor plea."

On Craig's claim that he was the victim of an "aggressive" police interrogation: "In this case, the interrogation transcript does not evidence an improperly aggressive interrogation. The Defendant was given a Miranda warning and agreed to speak with Sgt. Karsnia without having an attorney present ... The Defendant may have felt intimidated by the situation, but he also acted with a degree of confidence when, upon arriving at the POC, he identified himself as a United States Senator and said, 'What do you think about that?'"

Still no word on what Craig is going to do now, but a spokesman for Idaho Gov. Butch Otter tells the Idaho Statesman that the governor is "ready" to name Craig's replacement "should we receive a letter of resignation."

By Tim Grieve

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

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