Senator Larry Craig’s defense did not get off to a good start on Wednesday in the Hennepin County Fourth Judicial District Courthouse in Edina, in suburban Minneapolis.
With eyebrows descending and arms crossed behind his head, Hennepin County Judge Charles Porter interrupted Craig’s attorney Billy Martin as he tried to make the intricate argument that intentional contact is necessary in order to charge Sen. Larry Craig with disorderly conduct charges. “Disorderly conduct is so innocuous and ambiguous, and there is no factual basis,” Martin argued to Porter.
“I don’t know,” the judge said, contorting face his face and positing that If he were to run around the bench shaking his fist at Martin but not touching him, “It might cause you to become alarmed.”
Crossing his arms, Porter — a former Navy Lt. Commander — said Craig didn’t have to intend “to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others” with his actions, as Minnesota law stipulates, in order to qualify for the charge of disorderly conduct. “All he has to do is do what he did,” Porter said.
In a courtroom packed with reporters, Martin and his fellow defense lawyers had an uphill battle. When Craig was arrested, he pleaded guilty to the disorderly conduct charge for allegedly soliciting what turned out to be an undercover policeman in the men’s room of the Minneapolis International Airport.
Now, they were trying to argue that “manifest injustice” had occurred in the months since the Senator’s June 11 arrest; thus his original guilty plea should be thrown out. Judge Porter would not let them have an easy time of it, interrupting the defense several times. He only interrupted the prosecution once.