Senator Larry Craig (R.-ID) Arrested In Minnesota Airport
Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men's public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.
Craig's arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.
A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a "he said/he said misunderstanding," and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.
After he was arrested, Craig, who is married, was taken to the Airport Police Operations Center to be interviewed about the lewd conduct incident, according to the police report. At one point during the interview, Craig handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, "What do you think about that?" the report states.
Craig was detained for approximately 45 minutes, interviewed, photographed, fingerprinted and released, and police prepared a formal complaint for interference with privacy and disorderly conduct.
According to the incident report, Sgt. Dave Karsnia was working as a plainclothes officer on June 11 investigating civilian complaints regarding sexual activity in the men’s public restroom in which Craig was arrested.
Airport police previously had made numerous arrests in the men’s restroom of the Northstar Crossing in the Lindbergh Terminal in connection with sexual activity.
Karsnia entered the bathroom at noon that day and about 13 minutes after taking a seat in a stall, he stated he could see “an older white male with grey hair standing outside my stall.”
The man, who lingered in front of the stall for two minutes, was later identified as Craig.
“I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look down at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes,” the report states.
Craig then entered the stall next to Karsnia’s and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door.
“My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall,” Karsnia stated in his report. “From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me.”
Craig was wearing dress pants with black dress shoes.
“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 moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. 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,” the report states.
Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could ... see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”
Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.
“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”
In a recorded interview after his arrest, Craig “either disagreed with me or ‘didn’t recall’ the events as they happened,” the report states.
Craig stated “that he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine,” the report states. Craig also told the arresting officer that he reached down with his right hand to pick up a piece of paper that was on the floor.
“It should be noted that there was not a piece of paper on the bathroom floor, nor did Craig pick up a piece of paper,” the arresting officer said in the report.
On Aug. 8, the day he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in the Minnesota court, Craig appeared via satellite at a ceremony that took place in Idaho in which former Idaho federal Judge Randy Smith was invested into his new position as a judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
If this is how men are getting arrested in Minnesota for public lewdity, I think it's bullshit.
But what I want to know is how does a U.S. Senator get arrested in June, plead guilty on August 8th, and the public doesn't hear about it until August 27th?
On a day (and probably the rest of a week) when the news cycles would have been filled with "Gonzales Resigns; What's Bush Going To Do Now?", it's going to be 24/7 of "Larry Craig: Is He Or Isn't He?" stories.
Last week, speculation abounded about Karl Rove's departure from the White House, and what it would mean for Republicans in the 2008 without Karl Rove running Republican dirty tricks campaigns from the White House. I think we now see that a Karl Rove outside of the public eye is a worse nightmare.
From Mike Rogers at BlogActive.com during the Mark Foley-House Page program scandal last year:
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 -- 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?):
Why does it matter?
Senator Larry Craig has a long history of supporting anti-gay legislation. He voted no on adding sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes, and expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. He's opposed ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, that would benefit gay and lesbian people by prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. He voted for the Defense of Marriage Act and supports a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Congressman Barney Frank about Larry Craig on Real Time with Bill Maher:
Craig is up for reelection in 2008.