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Sen. Larry Craig has filed papers to withdraw his guilty plea in an airport sex sting, arguing that he entered the plea under stress caused by media inquiries into his sexuality. But a spokesman for the agency that operates the airport said Craig's plea has been entered and accepted - and, in his words, "From our standpoint, this is already a done deal." The Republican Idaho Senator pleaded guilty in August to disorderly conduct following a sting operation in a men's bathroom at the Minneapolis airport.

He said he regrets that decision and made it hastily and without talking to an attorney.

He says he was under stress and pleaded guilty only to put the matter behind him.

Attorney William Martin specifically cited "tremendous pressure" from journalists as the reason for the guilty plea.

Martin said he's arguing that his client was under extreme stress from reporters hounding him about his sexuality.

Martin mentioned The Idaho Statesman by name, the Boise newspaper that spent months investigating whether Craig engaged in homosexual encounters.

Craig has flatly denied those suggestions on numerous occasions. In his first address to the public after the political journal Roll Call broke the story of the Minneapolis sting, Craig accused the newspaper of conducting a "witch hunt."

His chief spokesman said that Craig has dropped virtually all notions of trying to finish his third term in the Senate, but the Senator has shown signs of wavering on his announced plan to resign from the Senate at the end of September.

The documents filed Monday aim at undoing Craig's earlier decision to plead guilty to the lewd conduct charges in order to give him a chance to fight the accusations.

According to court documents, the senator "felt compelled to grasp the lifeline" - hoping that if he were to submit to an interview and plead guilty that none of the allegations would be made public.


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