January 8, 2009 in Idaho

Larry Craig dropping further appeals

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
 
Associated Press photo

In this Oct. 4, 2008 file photo Idaho U.S. Sentor Larry Craig talks with the media at the Idaho Republican party in Boise, Idaho. Craig no longer will pursue appeals.
(Full-size photo)

MINNEAPOLIS — Former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig has reached the end of the road in his effort to reverse his conviction in an airport bathroom sex sting, one of his lawyers said Thursday.

Attorney Tom Kelly said Craig had decided against asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to void the conviction. The decision means the legal wrangling in the case is over.

“We’ve concluded that the Supreme Court would not accept this for review,” Kelly said. “It would be a futile exercise.”

Thursday was the 30-day deadline for Craig to ask the high court to review a Minnesota Court of Appeals decision that went against him. The Supreme Court typically grants only about 25 percent to 30 percent of those requests, according to court figures.

The Idaho Republican was arrested June 11, 2007, by an undercover police officer conducting a sting operation against men cruising for sex at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The senator quietly pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a fine, but changed his mind after word of his arrest later became public.

As his political career disintegrated, Craig continued to insist he was innocent and that he was not gay. He said the officer had misconstrued his foot-tapping actions in the airport bathroom.

Last month, the Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected Craig’s bid to withdraw his guilty plea. It affirmed a lower court decision that his plea was “accurate, voluntary and intelligent” and that it was supported by the evidence.

Craig did not seek re-election in last November’s election for the seat he had held for 18 years. He was succeeded Tuesday by political veteran Jim Risch, a Republican former lieutenant governor, governor and state senator.

Judy Smith, a publicist who has worked for Craig’s defense team before, did not immediately return a phone call asking if he had any further comment.

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