MINNEAPOLIS – A federal judge took Sen. Larry Craig's request to withdraw his guilty plea under advisement on Wednesday, and the Idaho Republican announced plans to stay in Congress for the time being, omitting mention of an earlier commitment to resign Sept. 30.
Hennepin County Judge Charles Porter said he probably won't rule until next month on Craig's request, which stems from his earlier guilty plea in a men's room sex sting at the Minneapolis airport.
Craig didn't say just how long he planned to remain on the job.
"Today was a major step in the legal effort to clear my name," Craig said in a statement. "The court has not issued a ruling on my motion to withdraw my guilty plea. For now, I will continue my work in the U.S. Senate for Idaho."
Craig skipped the court hearing in Minnesota, a decision that his attorney, Billy Martin, described as routine for such a session.
During the hearing, Martin acknowledged the difficulty in getting the plea withdrawn, saying it is "near impossible, and it should be." But he said Craig's conduct was not criminal.
Prosecutor Christopher Renz said the timing of Craig's decision to withdraw his guilty plea was political. Craig was arrested in a Minneapolis airport bathroom June 11, then entered his plea Aug. 8. Craig said he panicked in entering his plea.
"He sat and was able to think about it a thousand miles away at his apartment on the Potomac. He called me about it" and could have called others if he needed advice, Renz said.