ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Attorneys for U.S. Sen. Larry Craig are asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to correct a "manifest injustice" by allowing the Idaho Republican to withdraw his guilty plea stemming from an airport restroom sex sting.
In court papers filed Tuesday, the lawyers asked the appellate judges to reverse the trial court's decision to let stand Craig's guilty plea to a disorderly conduct charge. They also asked the court to vacate his plea.
Craig was arrested in June in a restroom stall at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport during a sweep targeting men soliciting sex. An undercover officer said Craig tapped his feet and swiped his hand under a stall divider in a way that signaled he wanted sex.
After news of his arrest and plea became public in August, Craig denied wrongdoing. He insisted his actions were misconstrued and said he wasn't gay. He said he pleaded guilty and paid a fine hoping to resolve the matter quietly.
He later tried to withdraw his guilty plea, but a Hennepin County judge refused.
Tuesday's filing repeats many arguments that Craig's attorneys made before, including claims that the lower court abused its discretion and that the guilty plea is invalid because there is no factual basis for a disorderly conduct charge.
Craig's behavior as he looked into a stall was "consistent with the conduct of an innocent person waiting for one of the occupied stalls to clear," the attorneys wrote. They also noted that the state's disorderly conduct statute refers to "others" and that Craig's actions did not affect multiple victims.
Prosecutors have said in court documents that the judge did not abuse his discretion. They also have argued that Craig's attorneys are misinterpreting the state disorderly conduct statute, and that the arresting officer may be the only person present.
Defense attorneys argued that even though Craig may have pleaded guilty to avoid publicity and face a more serious charge, that doesn't change the fact that the plea is inaccurate.
The Court of Appeals had not yet set a time for oral arguments. Once heard, a ruling is required within 90 days.
Craig has said he will finish his term, which ends in January 2009.