TRANSCRIPT: Police Interview With Sen. Larry Craig
Police Officers Question Craig After Arrest at Minneapolis Airport
Aug. 30, 2007
The following is an unedited transcript of an interview between police Sgt. Dave Karsnia and police Detective Noel Nelson with Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, regarding a June 11 incident at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Audiotapes and a transcript of the interview were released today.
Craig was arrested June 11 in an airport bathroom by Karsnia, who was working undercover. Karsnia said Craig exhibited behavior in the men's restroom that was "often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct."
Craig later pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct. When news of the arrest hit the press Monday, Craig issued a statement saying, "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."
Under pressure from Republican party leaders, Craig stepped down from his Senate committee leadership posts.
Investigative Sgt. Dave Karsnia #4211 and Detective Noel Nelson of the Minneapolis Police Department intert 1162
(NN) INTERVIEW WITH Larry Craig (LC) Case 07002008
Larry Craig: Am I gonna have to fight you in court?
Dave Karsnia: No. No. I'm not gonna go to court unless you want me there.
LC: Cause I don't want to be in court either.
DK: Ok. I don't either.
(inaudible) DK: Urn, here's the way it works, urn, you'll you'll be released today, okay.
DK: All right. I, I know I can bring you to jail, but that's not my goal here, okay? (inaudible)
LC: Don't do that. You You
DK: I'm not going to bring you to jail
LC: You solicited me.
DK: Okay. We're going to get, We're going to get into that. (inaudible)
DK: But there's the, there there's two ways, yes. You can, you can, ah, you can go to court.
You can plead guilty.
DK: There'll be a fine. You won't have to explain anything. (inaudible) I know. LC: Right.
DK: And you'll pay a fine, you be (inaudible), done. Or if you want to plead not guilty, ah, and I, I can't make these decisions for you.
LC: No, no. Just tell me where I am (inaudible) I need to make this flight.
DK: Okay. Okay. And then I go to people that are not guilty, then I would have to come to court and end up testifying. So those are the two things, okay. Did I explain that part?
DK Okay Urn, ah, I'm just going to read you your rights real quick, okay? You got it on?
Noel Nelson: Yep.
DK: Ah, the date is 6/11/07 at 1228 hours. Urn, Mr. Craig?
DK. Sorry about that. (ringing phone)
DK: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court of law. You have the right to talk to a lawyer now or have a present, a lawyer present now or anytime during questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you without cost. Do you understand each of these rights the way I have explained them to you?
LC: I do.
DK: Do you wish to talk to us at this time? LC I do
DK Okay Urn, I just wanna start off with a your side of the story, okay. So, a
LC: So I go into the bathroom here as I normally do, I'm a commuter too here.
LC: I sit down, urn, to go to the bathroom and ah, you said our feet bumped. I believe they did, ah, because I reached down and scooted over and urn, the next thing I knew, under the bathroom divider comes a card that says Police. Now, urn, (sigh) that's about as far as I can take it, I don't know of anything else. Ah, your foot came toward mine, mine came towards yours, was that natural? I don't know. Did we bump? Yes. I think we did. You said so. I don't disagree with that.
DK: Okay. I don't want to get into a pissing match here.
LC: We're not going to.
DK: Good. Urn,
LC: I don't, ah, I am not gay, I don't do these kinds of things and...
DK: It doesn't matter, I don't care about sexual preference or anything like that. Here's your stuff back sir. Urn, I don't care about sexual preference.
LC: I know you don't. You're out to enforce the law.
LC: But you shouldn't be out to entrap people either.
DK: This isn't entrapment.
LC: All right.
DK: Urn, you you're skipping some parts here, but what what about your hand?
LC What about it? I reached down, my foot like this. There was a piece of paper on the floor, I picked it up
LC What about my hand?
DK: Well, you're not being truthful with me, I'm kinda disappointed in you Senator. I'm real disappointed in you right now. Okay. I'm not, just so you know, just like everybody, 1,1,1, treat with dignity, I try to pull them away from the situation
DK: and not embarrass them.
LC: I appreciate that.
DK: And I
LC: You did that after the stall.
DK: I will say every person I've had so far has told me the truth. We've been respectful to each other and then they've gone on their way. And I've never had to bring anybody to jail because everybody's been truthful to me.
LC: I don't want you to take me to jail and I think.
DK: I'm not gonna take you to jail as long as your cooperative but I'm not gonna lie. We...
LC: Did my hand come below the divider? Yes. It did.
DK: Okay, sir. We deal with people that lie to us everyday. LC: I'm sure you do.
DK: I'm sure you do to sir.
LC: And gentleman so do I.
DK: I'm sure you do. We deal with a lot of people that are very bad people. You're not a bad person.
LC: No, I don't think I am.
DK: Okay, so what I'm telling you, I don't want to be lied to.
DK: Okay. So we'll start over, you're gonna get out of here. You're gonna have to pay a fine and that will be it. Okay. I don't call media, I don't do any of that type of crap.
DK: All right, so let's start from the beginning. You went in the bathroom.
LC: I went in the bathroom.
DK: And what did you do when you...
LC: 1 stood beside the wall, waiting for a stall to open. I got in the stall, sat down, and I started to go to the bathroom. Ah, did our feet come together, apparently they did bump. Well, I won't dispute that.
DK: Okay. When I got out of the stall, I noticed other other stalls were open. LC: They were at the time. At the time I entered, 1,1, at the time I entered, I stood and waited.
LC: They were all busy, you know?
DK: Were you (inaudible) out here while you were waiting? I could see your eyes. I saw you playing with your fingers and then look up. Play with your fingers and then look up.
LC: Did I glance at your stall? I was glancing at a stall right beside yours waiting for a fella to empty it. I saw him stand up and therefore I thought it was going to empty.
DK: How long do you think you stood outside the stalls?
LC: Oh a minute or two at the most.
DK: Okay. And when you went in the stalls, then what? LC: Sat down.
DK: Okay. Did you do anything with your feet?
LC: Positioned them, I don't know. I don't know at the time. I'm a fairly wide guy.
DK: I understand.
LC: I had to spread my legs.
LC: When I lower my pants so they won't slide.
LC: Did I slide them too close to yours? Did I, I looked down once, your foot was close to mine.
LC Did we bump? Ah, you said so, I don't recall that, but apparently we were close.
DK Yeah, well your foot did touch mine, on my side of the stall.
LC: All right.
DK: Okay. And then with the hand. Urn, how many times did you put your hand under the stall?
LC: I don't recall. I remember reaching down once. There was a piece of toilet paper back behind me and picking it up.
DK: Okay. Was your was your palm down or up when you were doing that?
LC: I don't recall.
DK: Okay. I recall your palm being up. Okay.
LC: All right.
DK: When you pick up a piece of paper off the ground, your palm would be down, when you pick something up.
LC: Yeah, probably would be. I recall picking the paper up.
DK: And I know it's hard to describe here on tape but actually what I saw was your fingers come underneath the stalls, you're actually ta touching the bottom of the stall divider.
LC: I don't recall that.
DK: You don't recall
LC: I don't believe I did that. I don't.
DK: I saw, I saw
LC: I don't do those things.
DK: I saw your left hand and I could see the gold wedding ring when it when it went across. I could see that. On your left hand, I could see that. LC: Wait a moment, my left hand was over here.
DK: I saw there's a...
LC: My right hand was next to you.
DK: I could tell it with my ah, I could tell it was your left hand because your thumb was positioned in a faceward motion. Your thumb was on this side, not on this side.
LC: Well, we can dispute that. I'm not going to fight you in court and I, I reached down with my right hand to pick up the paper.
DK: But I'm telling you that I could see that so I know that's your left hand. Also I could see a gold ring on this finger, so that's obvious it was the left hand.
LC: Yeah, okay. My left hand was in the direct opposite of the stall from you.
DK: Okay. You, you travel through here frequently correct? LC I do
LC Almost weekly.
DK: Have you been successful in these bathrooms here before?
LC: I go to that bathroom regularly
DK I mean for any type of other activities.
LC: No. Absolutely not. I don't seek activity in bathrooms.
DK: It's embarrassing.
LC: Well it's embarrassing for both.. I'm not gonna fight you.
DK: I know you're not going to fight me. But that's not the point. I would respect you and I still respect you. I don't disrespect you but I'm disrespected right now and I'm not tying to act like I have all kinds of power or anything, but you're sitting here lying to a police officer.
DK: It's not a (inaudible) I'm getting from somebody else. I'm (inaudible)
LC: (inaudible) (Talking over each other)
DK: I am trained in this and I know what I am doing. And I say you put your hand under there and you're going to sit there and...
LC: I admit I put my hand down.
DK: You put your hand and rubbed it on the bottom of the stall with your left hand.
LC: No. Wait a moment.
DK: And I, I'm not dumb, you can say I don't recall...
LC: If I had turned sideways, that was the only way I could get my left hand over there.
DK: it's not that hard for me to reach. (inaudible) it's not that hard. I see it happen everyday out here now.
LC: (inaudible) you do. All right.
DK: I just, I just, I guess, I guess I'm gonna say I'm just disappointed in you sir. I'm just really am. I expect this from the guy that we get out of the hood. I mean, people vote for you.
LC: Yes, they do. (inaudible)
DK: unbelievable, unbelievable.
LC: I'm a respectable person and I don't do these kinds of...
DK: And (inaudible) respect right now though
LC: But I didn't use my left hand.
DK I thought that you...
LC: I reached down with my right hand like this to pick up a piece of paper.
DK: Was your gold ring on your right hand at anytime today.
LC: Of course not, try to get it off, look at it.
DK: Okay. Then it was your left hand, I saw it with my own eyes.
LC: All right, you saw something that didn't happen.
DK: Embarrassing, embarrassing. No wonder why we're going down the tubes. Anything to add?
NN Uh, no
DK: Embarrassing. Date is 6/11/07 at 1236 interview is done.