US sex scandal senator to step down

A Republican US senator arrested in a police sex sting on a men's toilet will resign from the Senate amid a row over his arrest and guilty plea, Republican officials say.

US sex scandal senator to step down
Asked at the White House if the senator should resign, President George Bush said nothing and walked off stage.

Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig is due to hold a news conference to say that he will resign with effect from September 30.

The announcement comes just five days after the disclosure that he had pleaded guilty on August 1 to a reduced misdemeanour charge arising out of his arrest on June 11 at the Minneapolis airport.

The three-term Republican senator had maintained that he did nothing wrong except for making the guilty plea without consulting a lawyer. But he found almost no support among Republicans in his home state or Washington.

Craig has been out of public view since Tuesday, but Republican sources in Idaho said he spent Friday making calls to top party officials, gauging their support. There has been virtually no support publicly.

Republican officeholders and party leaders maintained a steady drumbeat of actions and words aimed at persuading Craig to vacate his Senate seat.

Republican politicians, hoping to get the embarrassment to the party behind them quickly, stripped Craig of leadership posts on Wednesday, one day after they called for an investigation of Craig's actions by the Senate Ethics Committee. Craig complied with the request.

With his wife, Suzanne, at his side, he said he had kept the incident from aides, friends and family and later pleaded guilty "in hopes of making it go away."

Craig, 62, has represented Idaho in Congress for more than a quarter of a century and was up for re-election next year.

Press Association
Last Mod: 01 Eylül 2007, 10:09
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