Radel pleads guilty to drug charge

Rep. Trey RadelHenry (Trey) Jude RadelEx-GOP rep: Ryan avoids Speakership to protect shot at higher office 2014's top scandals After yearlong absence, ex-congressman makes Twitter return MORE (R-Fla.) pled guilty in District of Columbia Superior Court Wednesday morning on a charge of misdemeanor possession of cocaine, a controlled substance.

Judge Robert Tignor sentenced Radel to a year of probation with minimal supervision, to allow Radel to enter in-patient substance abuse treatment in Florida. He warned that if Radel breaks probation, he would face up to six months in jail.

The misdemeanor charge carried a maximum of 180 days in prison and/or a fine of $1,000.

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In a statement before the court, Radel apologized for what he had done, saying he recognized he had "hit a bottom" in his life and needed to seek help. He expressed remorse for letting down both his constituents as well as his 2-year-old son, who he said is not yet aware of what has happened.

Radel made no mention of a possible resignation, and said he hoped to get better so as to "be a better man, a better husband, and continue serving my country."
 
Radel left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

The prosecution, carried out by attorney Nihar Mohanty, laid out the government's allegations.

Mohanty said the police had learned from a source that Radel had bought and used cocaine multiple times in the past and had also shared cocaine with others.

Radel, he said, had met with an associate as well as an undercover police officer at a Dupont Circle restaurant and discussed purchasing cocaine from the undercover officer. 

The officer invited Radel to his vehicle, where Radel was said to have purchased 3.5 grams of cocaine for $260 at about 10 p.m. After leaving the vehicle, government agents approached Radel to inform him he would be facing a drug possession charge.
 
Radel, Mohanty continued, then invited the agents to his apartment where he turned over a vial containing more cocaine.
 
When asked by Tignor whether he expected to buy cocaine in the exchange, Radel briefly consulted with his attorney, David Schertler, before saying that he had.
 
Schertler urged leniency for his client, emphasizing that Radel had already entered an out-patient treatment program in D.C., that he was a successful businessman who had contributed to the community, and that he had no prior offenses.
 
Schertler requested unsupervised probation, but Tignor expressed concern about monitoring Radel's progress with no supervision.
 
Mohanty said the government had no objection to low supervision, citing the difficult logistics of in-person supervision based on Radel's plan to enter in-person treatment in Florida. Tignor assented to a plan for minimal, long-distance supervision to ensure Radel was making progress in his treatment.
 
As Radel entered his guilty plea, Tignor asked whether he was on any drugs or other substances at the time, which Radel denied.

In a statement on Tuesday, Radel blamed the incident on alcoholism and apologized.

“I'm profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida. I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them," he said in a statement. 

Radel was first elected to Congress in 2012 to represent a Southwest Florida district spanning Fort Myers, Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs and Cape Coral. He won the Republican district with 63 percent of the vote and has been a prominent face of the party, making multiple media appearances and frequently using social media.

He serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure, and Foreign Affairs committees. 

Before his election, he worked as a TV news anchor and reporter. He is married to a Florida TV news anchor, and they have one son who was born in 2011.

Radel, Henry J. III -Statement of Offense - Nov 2013

 

Radel, Henry J. III - Plea Agreement - Nov 2013