Larry Craig

Craig apologizes to Senate colleagues for 'distraction,' outlines legal strategy

WASHINGTON — Sen. Larry Craig has apologized to his U.S. Senate colleagues for the “distraction” of his recent notoriety, and has sent them a letter outlining his legal strategy for withdrawing a guilty plea in connection with a sex sting.

The letter includes a copy of the motion Craig filed Monday in Hennepin County courts, seeking to undo his guilty plea to a disorderly conduct misdemeanor. Craig was arrested in June in the men’s room of the Minneapolis airport after an undercover police officer said the senator signaled he was interested in sexual activity.

Since the news broke of his arrest, Craig’s colleagues in the Senate have launched an ethics investigation and asked him to give up his leadership posts on several committee, including a top Republican leadership job on an appropriations subcommittee. They also urged him to step down from his Senate seat.

Craig announced Sept. 1 that he intends to resign at the end of the month, but he has also said that he will work to undo the guilty plea. And if he is able to clear his name in court, Craig has said he will consider returning to the Senate to serve out the remainder of his term.

Craig’s spokesman, Dan Whiting, said that he had not seen the letter. He described is as merely a “simple cover letter” for the legal filings. It went out to his colleagues this week “so that senators, if they wanted, could read it without the media filter,” Whiting said in an e-mail.

Craig has not been back to Washington since news broke last month of his arrest.