UPDATE - Rep. Trey Radel To Take Leave Of Absence After Guilty Plea For Cocaine Possession
Rep. Trey Radel announced tonight that he will take a leave of absence from Congress, and enter a drug rehabilitation facility. This is part of a deal made in connection to his pleading guilty to misdemeanor cocaine possession. Rep. Radel will donate his salary to charity while he is on leave.
According to CNN.com, Rep. Radel could have received a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail, along with a $1000 fine. If he successfully completes his one-year probation, the guilty plea will be wiped from his record.
Speaking at his press conference, Rep. Radel stated that he grew up with a mother who suffered from alcoholism, and does not want his son to do the same.
END OF UPDATE:
BREAKING - Rep. Trey Radel To Resign?
As we broke on Tony Katz Tonight, and was reported in depth today on WIBC.com, Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) was convicted of posession of cocaine this past October in Washington DC. He will be on supervised probation for one year. According to reports, Radel has had a history with alcohol and substance abuse. He has been in Congress for only one term, succeeding Rep. Connie Mack in his unsucessful Senate bid against Sen. Bill Nelson.
Now, there are reports that Radel will have a press conference tonight (Wednesday, November 20th) at 10:30pmET. This leads many to believe that Radel will resign from Congress tonight.
Last night, I stated clearly that Radel would have to resign from office. In a nation that has watched with wonder, and good humor, Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto deal with his admission to using crack cocaine (along with his unwillingness to resign and his subsequent foolhardy behavior,) it would be impossible to think that an elected official anywhere in the US could stay in power if they were guilty of the same offense.
US News and World Report's Peter Roff also believes Radel must resign. In his most recent article, Roff states:
None of us has the right to judge Radel for his actions, though many are doing so. The point of insisting he resign is as much for his own good and that of his family as it is for Congress or the Republican Party. A scandal of this sort is inevitable fodder for the Democrats and their allies on the left who will point to it as yet another example of Republican hypocrisy on values issues. In doing so, they apparently miss the point that such a message can be taken as conceding that cocaine use and alcohol abuse are okay if you are a Democrat because that party's candidates do not campaign on a so-called "values agenda."
From a political standpoint or a pratical one, Radel will have few choices but to step down.
(photo from AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)