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Continued: Craig's team makes case to change plea

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 27, 2007 - 12:13 AM

But Porter described a hypothetical scene in which he could walk out from behind the bench, flailing his fists at Martin. That would be a non-touching, nonverbal event that would still arouse alarm. "I don't have to intend to make you mad," Porter said.

Craig issues a statement

Craig, R-Idaho, did not attend the hearing. Martin, a well-known criminal defense lawyer who also represents suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, said he advised the senator against attending because his appearance wasn't necessary.

The senator issued a written statement from his Washington office. "Today was a major step in the legal effort to clear my name," Craig said.

Renz, prosecutor for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, argued that Craig's attempt to withdraw his plea was flawed because it was filed too late and that he committed the crime by engaging in "a series of invasions into the stall space next to him." He said the defense was trying to "direct the court's attention to each of the individual actions."

Renz noted that Craig's tapping, bumping, and swiping was preceded by two minutes of gazing into the stall occupied by Sgt. Dave Karsnia. He said the behavior fits the standard for disorderly conduct because it tended to arouse alarm.

'I did the following: ...'

He said the facts to which Craig pleaded do amount to a crime and the senator knew it because it read, "I did the following: Engaged in conduct which I knew or should have known tended to arouse alarm or resentment of others."

Renz took issue with the lapse of time between Craig's guilty plea in early August and his motion to withdraw, filed in September, saying he waited for the consequences to play out.

At one point, Martin told Porter that he wanted a chance to prove Craig's innocence at trial. The judge replied, "We don't do that here. We give guilty or not guilty. Florida looks at innocence."

Craig had announced earlier in the month that he intended to resign from the Senate Sunday if the guilty plea hadn't been withdrawn by then, but Wednesday's events indicated that he intends to retain his seat at least until Porter hands down a ruling.

Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747

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