Legal experts agree with Senator Larry Craig that his guilty plea on a disorderly conduct charge was a mistake. A good lawyer could have made the charge go away, they say.

Legal experts agree with Senator Larry Craig that his guilty plea on a disorderly conduct charge was a mistake. A good lawyer could have made the charge go away, they say. 2

Sen. Larry Craig has good reason to regret his guilty plea to a count of disorderly conduct in a Minneapolis airport bathroom — according to legal experts, a good lawyer could have made it go away.

But the Idaho Republican didn’t tell anyone and copped a plea after his now-famous encounter in June with an undercover cop investigating reports of sexual activity in the men’s restroom.

According to the police report of the incident, “At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. … Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times.”

Minnesota Statutes Section 609.72, Subdivision (3) says it is a crime for an individual to engage in conduct that “will tend to, alarm, anger or disturb others or provoke an assault or breach of the peace.”

Sen. Craig later said he has a “wide stance” when using the toilet and he was trying to pick up a piece of paper on the floor. Whether or not those explanations are believable, there’s little reason to believe that Craig alarmed, angered or disturbed his stall neighbor, said University of Minnesota law professor Dale Carpenter.

After Craig tapped his toes, the undercover officer wrote in the report that “I moved my foot up and down slowly.” According to Carpenter, that signaled a response or acceptance of Craig’s actions.

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