November 21st, 2013
06:41 AM ET

Rep. Radel Takes Leave Of Absence After Cocaine Bust

U.S. Rep. Trey Radel said Wednesday night he will take a leave of absence for an unspecified time and donate his salary.

"I have no excuse for what I have done. I have let down our country," he said at a news conference.

Radel spoke to reporters after returning home to southwest Florida, hours after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cocaine possession.

The 37-year-old first-term Republican from Florida said he will enter an inpatient drug treatment program.

The cocaine possession charge came after authorities said he bought a small amount of cocaine in a sting in the nation's capital last month.

"The former journalist and father of a two-year-old son stopped short of resigning.  Instead, he says he's focused on rebuilding trust with his family," reports CNN's Alina Machado.

During the brief news conference, Radel said he "grew up with a mom who struggled with alcoholism."

"I don't want my son to struggle with that," he said.

The plea and sentence were part of a deal that Radel's attorney struck with federal prosecutors. He could have received a maximum sentence of 180 days imprisonment or a $1,000 fine, or both. Instead, he was placed on one year probation, and if it is "successfully completed," his guilty plea will be cleared from his record.

"Your honor, I apologize for what I've done," Radel told Judge Robert Tignor in court Wednesday. "I think in life I've hit a bottom where I realize I need help."

Radel said he is aggressively pursuing that help, with the support of friends and loved ones.

He was charged after he bought 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover police officer in Washington's Dupont Circle area on October 29, court documents say.

Posted by ,
Filed under: News • Videos
soundoff (One Response)

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.