LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – The New York Times reports that Senator…

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – The New York Times reports that Senator Larry E. Craig said Tuesday that he regretted his guilty plea in connection with an airport restroom incident, and he accused an Idaho newspaper of hounding him in recent months.

“I am not gay; I never have been gay,” Mr. Craig, an Idaho Republican, said at a brief appearance outside the Wells Fargo Bank building downtown.

After walking slowly to the microphone, holding the hand of his wife, Suzanne, Mr. Craig, 62, apologized for “the cloud placed over Idaho” by his arrest and guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

His deepest regret, he said, is that he pleaded guilty when he had done nothing wrong.

The senator said he had chosen to plead guilty without consulting a lawyer and before telling his family, in the hope that the case would just “go away.”

“That was a mistake, and I deeply regret it,” he said.

Now, he said, he has retained counsel to decide what to do next. Mr. Craig said he would soon announce whether he would seek a fourth term next year.

The Senate Republican leadership sought to quarantine the possible damage from Mr. Craig’s troubles, calling the case “a serious matter” and recommending that the Senate Ethics Committee review it.

“In the meantime, leadership is examining other aspects of the case to determine if additional action is required,” said the statement by Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader; Trent Lott of Mississippi, the assistant Republican leader; Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Republican conference leader; Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, the policy committee chairwoman; and John Ensign of Nevada, chairman of the party’s Senate campaign committee.

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