Judge denies Sen. Larry Craig's request to withdraw his guilty plea

by Tim Haas
NBC News

Larry Craig's efforts to clear his name hit a major snag Thursday.

A judge in Minnesota denied Craig's request to withdraw his guilty plea on a disorderly conduct charge.

The charge stems from a June 11th incident in a bathroom at the  Minneapolis St.  Paul International Airport.

The judge agreed with prosecutors who'd argued that Craig was well aware of what that guilty plea would mean.

Last week Patrick Hogan with the Metropolitan Airports Commission said, "The defendant received due process under the law, and had more than eight weeks between the time of his arrest and his August 8th arraignment in which to consider his legal options."

Last month, Senator Craig held a news conference to proclaim his innocents.

Craig said, "I did nothing wrong and I regret the decision to plead guilty."

Craig insists that the plea was a misguided effort to make the entire incident go away.

The arrest came during a police sex sting in the airport men's room but Craig says his actions that day were misinterpreted.

While Thursday's ruling does not change the legal case against Craig his career plans have changed.

Craig announced his intention to resign from his senate seat last month, but now says he will stay and complete his term.

In a statement Craig also says he's exploring further legal options, and will also fight charges against him in the Senate Ethics Committee.