Image: Sen. Larry Craig
Mannie Garcia  /  AFP - Getty Images
Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct following his arrest in a Minnesota airport bathroom.
msnbc.com
updated 10/15/2007 10:11:22 AM ET 2007-10-15T14:11:22

Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, who has defied calls for his resignation after he pleaded guilty in an airport restroom sex sting, will discuss his case for the first time in a nationally televised interview next week, NBC said Thursday.

The interview with Matt Lauer, anchor of NBC’s TODAY morning program, was scheduled to air Tuesday night at 8 p.m./7 C. on NBC stations. The network said Lauer would also interview Craig’s wife, Suzanne.

Many of Craig’s Senate Republican colleagues have been pressuring him to resign after it was learned that he was arrested June 11 in a men’s restroom at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the actions that led to Craig’s arrest “unforgivable.”

Craig, 62, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct after an undercover officer said he exhibited behavior consistent with that of someone seeking a sexual encounter. Craig, insisting repeatedly that he was not gay and that his arrest had been the result of a misunderstanding, unsuccessfully sought to withdraw his plea last week.

After initially saying he would give up his Senate seat, Craig reversed course last week and vowed to serve out his term , again proclaiming his innocence and touting his seniority, especially on the Appropriations Committee and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has responsibility for many issues important to Idaho.

Craig also said he was staying so he could fight to “clear my name in the Senate Ethics Committee — something that is not possible if I am not serving in the Senate.”

Craig did rule out running for re-election next year, however. Republican Lt. Gov. Jim Risch and Democratic former Rep. Larry LaRocco have both announced their campaigns for the seat. Risch handily defeated LaRocco for the lieutenant governorship last year.

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