Looks like soon-to be retired Sen. Larry Craig is guilty after all. After trying to withdraw the guilty plea he made after being caught in a Minnesota Airport soliciting sex from a plainclothes police officer CNN reports the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled today that:
“Because we see no abuse of discretion in the denial and conclude that the statute is not overbroad, we affirm” a lower court’s decision, the three-judge panel wrote in a 10-page ruling.
In a written statement, Craig said he was “extremely disappointed” by the action and was considering an appeal.
“I disagree with their conclusion and remain steadfast in my belief that nothing criminal or improper occurred at the Minneapolis airport,” Craig said.
In an effort to persuade the panel to throw out Craig’s guilty plea, his attorney argued that Craig’s foot tapping was protected by his First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
But the judges were unpersuaded.
“A government may constitutionally prohibit such speech if there is ‘a showing that substantial privacy interests are being invaded in an essentially intolerable manner.’ ” they said, citing a previous case.
“Offensive speech may be prohibited as intrusive when the ‘captive’ audience cannot avoid the speech. … A person using a restroom stall is such a ‘captive’ audience with substantial privacy interests that would be intolerably invaded even by communications less potentially offensive than sexual solicitations.
“Thus, even if appellant’s foot-tapping and the movement of his foot towards the undercover officer’s stall are considered ‘speech,’ they would be intrusive speech directed at a captive audience, and the government may prohibit them.”
Funny how Republicans are quick to try to limit free speech, except when it could help them out of a sex sting. Sen. Craig will retire from his seat in January.