WASHINGTON – Sen. Larry Craig's request to withdraw his guilty plea in an airport sex sting will be heard on Sept. 26, just four days before he has said he will step down from his Senate seat.
A spokesman for Craig has said he is unlikely to try to finish his third term unless a court moves quickly to overturn Craig's conviction. Craig's spokesman could not immediately be reached Tuesday and it was unclear what impact the Sept. 26 hearing would have on Craig's plans. Craig has been under intense pressure from Republicans to resign.
The hearing will take place before Judge Charles Porter, rather than Judge Gary Larson, who had accepted Craig's guilty plea. That could help Craig's attorneys, who are arguing, in effect, that the judge made a mistake accepting Craig's guilty plea.
It's not yet known whether Craig will appear in person at the hearing, said Judy Smith, a spokesman for Craig attorney Billy Martin.
Craig was arrested June 11 by a Minneapolis airport police officer in a bathroom sex sting. The Idaho Republican pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct, and in exchange, prosecutors dropped a gross misdemeanor charge of interference with privacy.
Craig has since said that his guilty plea was a mistake. He filed a request to withdraw the guilty plea on Monday.