"At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions," he said. "I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."
What makes the case all the more problematic for Craig are the rumors regarding his sexuality that have circulated for decades. In 1982, as a congressman, Craig denied inappropriate relationships with male pages. In 1994, according to an Idaho newspaper report, he denied allegations that he had tried to pick up a man in a Boise sporting goods store and he told the newspaper in May that he had never engaged in any homosexual acts.
The arrest casts doubt on his political future, said Jasper LiCalzi, a political science professor at Albertson College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho. He cited the House page scandal that drove Republican Florida Rep. Mark Foley from office.
"There's a chance that he'll resign over this," LiCalzi said. "With the pressure on the Republican Party, he could be pressured to resign. If they think this is going to be something that's the same as Mark Foley, the sort of 'Drip, drip, drip, there's more information that's going to come out' they may try to push him out."
Already Craig has stepped down from a prominent role with Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. He had been one of Romney's top Senate supporters, serving as a Senate liaison for the campaign since February.
"He did not want to be a distraction and we accept his decision," said Matt Rhoades, a Romney campaign spokesman.
According to a Hennepin County, Minn., court docket, Craig pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge Aug. 8, with the court dismissing a charge of gross misdemeanor interference to privacy.
The court docket said Craig paid $575 in fines and fees and was put on unsupervised probation for a year. A sentence of 10 days in the county workhouse was stayed.
Craig has chalked up both his arrest and guilty plea for disorderly conduct to a big misunderstanding.
Less than 10 minutes elapsed from the time a plainclothes police officer said he noticed Craig in the bathroom and Craig's subsequent arrest for lewd conduct.
According to the arrest report, however, there was little doubt in the mind of undercover officer who arrested Craig in the main restroom of the Lindbergh terminal that the Idaho Republican was trying to engage in some sort of sexual activity. The officer was participating in an undercover bathroom sting because there had been complaints about lewd activity in the bathroom and police had made similar arrests there in the past.
According to the arrest complaint, airport police Sgt. Dave Karsnia went into a stall shortly after noon on June 11 and closed the door.
Minutes later, the officer saw an older, gray-haired man, later identified as Craig, gaze into his stall through the crack between the stall door and the frame, fidget with his fingers and return to gazing through the stall for about an additional two minutes.
After a man in the adjacent stall flushed the toilet and left, Craig entered it and put his roller bag against the front of the stall door, "which Sgt. Karsnia's experience has indicated is used to attempt to conceal sexual conduct by blocking the view from the front of the stall," said the complaint, which was dated June 25.