Larry Craig

Prosecutor asks judge to throw out ACLU brief defending Craig

WASHINGTON -- The Minnesota prosecutor who handled Sen. Larry Craig's guiltyplea is asking that a judge throw out a friend-of-the-court brief written bythe American Civil Liberties Union.

Craig is trying to withdraw his guilty plea and has a court appearance nextweek. The ACLU filed its brief Monday, saying Minneapolis airport policeviolated Craig's constitutional right of free speech by charging him withdisorderly conduct after arresting him in an airport men's room, wherepolice say he solicited sex from an undercover officer.

But the airport's prosecutor said the ACLU has no business filing briefs indistrict court proceedings. That's more appropriate for appellate courts,prosecutor Christopher Renz wrote.

Also, the remarks are "without substantive merit," the brief says, becausethe ACLU focused on free speech, and not Craig's other conduct: invadingsomeone else's personal space in the most private of places, a bathroomstall.

The airport takes privacy in its restrooms seriously, according to thebrief. Police started their undercover sting operation "on the heels of anincident in which a private citizen was seated in the stall, the individualnext to him invaded the space of the adjacent stall and looked up the stalldivider. The victim was so upset he waited for the defendant to come out ofhis stall and took him to a security checkpoint to call the police."

The airport is expected to file a response early next week to Craig's motionto withdraw his plea.

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