Transcript for GOP Congressman Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Possession
This is a special room. Hello I'm tired Hernandez -- New York this is an ABC news digital special report Florida congressman -- -- -- caught with cocaine. During an undercover sting in Washington appeared. And it DC courtroom today he pleaded guilty. And promised a judge he would seek treatment the Florida Democratic Party though not impressed they -- calling for -- to resign. And for new elections in his nineteenth district with more on -- day in court and what comes next we're joined by ABC's rob Nelson hi rob. Hey good morning -- -- -- rob Ford fiasco in Toronto. -- another politician drug scandal as you said back in the news right now. This time it's a Florida congressman busted for buying cocaine and today he confessed to the crime -- -- that he did admit that he is an addict. It took just minutes inside a Washington DC courtroom this morning for this Florida congressman -- was it -- to buying cocaine. Represented in trade radio -- Tea Party darling and self profess hip -- congressman. Pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance. -- LA former TV news anchor was caught buying cocaine October 29 in DC's DuPont Circle neighborhood. Little did he know it was all part of a joint operation between the FBI and DEA after the congressman had been identified by a cocaine dealer. According to prosecutors radio had purchased cocaine several times from an agent and even turned over to authorities more cocaine from a cells in a statement before today's court appearance. -- had fessed up to some personal problems but not specific hopeful news. I struggle with the disease of alcoholism and this led to an extremely -- responsible choice. The conservative congressman is one of Washington's more colorful characters. In Japan Israel has admitted his favorite vacation spot is -- -- -- Columbia wants a hub for drug trafficking. He's also boasted of his love for rap music. Public and the need -- noise is one of my favorite track. -- -- troubles come on the heels of Toronto mayor rob -- downward spiral. The outspoken mayor has admitted to smoking crack and continues to resist pressure to resign. Now Riddell was placed on a one year probation and will seek inpatient treatment at a facility in Naples Florida -- -- is there any indication -- -- take a formal leave our hasn't shown any willingness to leave office. At this point he did not spend a lot of time today talking to the press is unclear we don't exactly how he will respond if he will step down as you mentioned a second ago -- the state Democratic Party there in Florida has asked for him to is that down from his job again. No indication just yet that he will take. That advice. He's -- -- thank you rob -- The Washington now where ABC Devin Dwyer has been following the story -- good morning to you. They're not going to -- not such a great morning for congressman -- Dell is -- Washington for less than a year but he's -- quite a personal reputation on the hill. That's right he's known as one of the more outspoken. And members the Tea Party caucus on the hill. You know that whole. Republican freshman gang if you will has been somewhat something of a rabble -- there are a bunch he's one of those. So I think -- for many people this behavior raised some eyebrows and today if you looked online -- Some of the -- took pictures that he's been tweeting or others have found about some of his. Activities alleged activities he's it's known to do and -- be something out of a party here enjoy a good time. And as he admitted today has a bit -- a problem with alcoholism so it's certainly something new that the party isn't really excited to have come out into the open. And he may have to answer to that when he yet when he gets back in -- mistreatment. And he wasn't being singled out here this is actually part of a larger operation has the DA made any comment about this case -- their sting operation. That's right -- the DEA did put out a statement today after the the hearing with the with the congressman saying that this is part of a broader. Drug anti drug trafficking operation here in Washington one of the interest in things. That they noted on that is that did the congressman based on informants and undercover officers had used cocaine on several occasions not only used it purchased it. And shared it with other people with a line that stood out to me -- that complaint. But also notable from the DA today -- is that they admitted that they appreciated. His cooperation of course he was caught in this staying in. All indications are there there was no where he could turn to try to escape it. But but he he didn't deny he didn't -- he did he did fess up and admitted in and as we've seen -- -- -- -- -- treatment for. It's certainly a different course from some other lawmakers who have found themselves in trouble with the law in recent memory. Who have and even that mayor of Toronto who have spent a lot of time denying. That -- we talked a little bit about. His being a colorful character in congress what -- do before entering politics. I've heard there rob reporting he spent some time in TV he he he was. -- broadcaster for some time. And in really getting into politics in that district there of the nineteen district areas that popular vacation spots and for many retirees. In Naples. And has been a fierce advocate here in Washington effort to fight against Obama care and and kind of been a thorn in president Obama's side so. Democrats as you heard rob say -- -- calling for his resignation at this point we haven't heard. Much on the hill from house Republican or democratic leadership so far. It is -- calls for restrictions resignation have been confined to to the state into the county. That he it's from but that could spread if this continues to -- -- You know we haven't been hearing a little bit more about -- -- past he voted to have. Food stamp recipients drug tested he also cosponsored a bill for. Reforming mandatory minimum sentencing has he responded to either of those positions in light of his arrest and now conviction. What we have not heard much from him that at this point only that statement apologizing. For his mistakes and and vowing that he's seeking they're gonna seek some treatment here but certainly his critics are pointing out. This hypocrisy that as you say he did call -- push for. -- mandatory drug testing for recipients of food stamps that measure was passed in the house that's actually still on the table. Right now it's in a conference committee on Capitol Hill sit still actually has a chance of of going through. Although the senate is opposed to it. But also interest dean to note that the house has had some -- has a provision in its rules since about 1997 that would allow speaker Boehner. Two imposed kind of random drug testing on all members of congress if he started -- desires. That provision hasn't been acted upon but it's there. In the legalese if you will it's it's it's an option. They haven't taken that -- because at the time in the ninety's when it was put in their -- many lawmakers said that there simply isn't a drug use problem on on Capitol Hill so be interesting to see -- that gain some traction to. They mentioned his mandatory drug treatment order by the judge and wet with the precedent for this type of what -- leaving congress for rehab how much time does he have to recover. Well we have seen in recent years some members of congress -- medical leaves of absence to get some treatment. For drug addiction or or or other illnesses or problems. Whether that. Is going to be a formal leave of absence -- can be the case is it remains to be seen it's unclear how long he's gonna receive this entry in net patient rather treatment. For his addiction. Bad but that that absence from congress it is something that's actually become quite common -- -- just think back to. Congressman -- Anthony Weiner of New York who. Who kind of grabbed headlines couple years ago with his tweeting scandal with with women across the country he voluntarily put himself. In treatment for for what he said at the time with the sex addiction so. Members of congress -- it has had seen these before in this case it if we we don't know yet how long that the congressman will be out of congress. But if it's for prolonged period of time he may -- to seek a formal request for a leave of absence. ABC's Devin Dwyer thanks for joining us -- Thanks and once again for those you just joining us Florida congressman -- read out pleads guilty to cocaine possession he will seek inpatient treatment in Florida. Has been given -- years' probation but he will not resign his office at least not yet know. Follow up -- on that from -- down the latest break here on ABC news -- comments during we will continue to cover. This has been an ABC news details special report anti Hernandez -- New York.
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