WASHINGTON — Florida Rep. Trey Radel pled guilty on Wednesday to possession of cocaine and was sentenced to one year of partially supervised probation.
Radel was caught in a sting last month by an undercover police officer, according to the government attorney at Radel’s arraignment on Wednesday at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. “Confidential sources and informants” made law enforcement aware that the congressman had, on “several occasions,” purchased and used cocaine, both by himself and at times sharing with others.
Senior Judge Robert Tignor, who presided over the case, asked Radel at the start of the arraignment if he was currently “under the influence” of any drug.
“No, Your Honor,” Radel replied.
According to the prosecutor, on October 29, Radel purchased 3.5 grams of cocaine for $260 from the undercover police officer. He was at a Dupont Circle restaurant with an acquaintance of his with whom he had on multiple occasions used cocaine, as well as an undercover officer. Radel invited the two to come to his apartment, where he said he had some cocaine, but both declined. The undercover officer then offered to sell Radel cocaine, offering an exchange of 3.5 grams of cocaine for $250. They completed the deal, with Radel ultimately paying $260 for the cocaine, in the undercover officer’s car. When Radel emerged from the car, he was approached by DEA and FBI officials. Radel dropped the cocaine to the street, but later confessed to purchasing cocaine voluntarily admitted to and surrendered a quantity of cocaine already in his apartment.
Radel told Judge Tignor that at the time he was fully aware that he was purchasing “a drug, cocaine.”
Dave Schertler, Radel’s attorney, told the court that Radel had already entered outpatient treatment for drug counseling in the wake of the incident through the Executive Addictive Disease Programs here in D.C. He said his client recognized that he had a problem, and planned to enter inpatient in his home of Naples, Florida, and then return to outpatient treatment. He asked the court for six months of unsupervised probation.
Tignor expressed skepticism that the court could monitor Radel’s compliance and progress without some supervision, and instead recommended twelve months of partially supervised probation. Radel must pay a $250 fine to the Victims Compensation Fund.
Radel apologized for his actions and expressed a desire to continue to serve his country, in a statement before the court. He has said nothing about whether he will resign his seat in congress. He was not wearing his congressional pin on the lapel of his black suit at the hearing.
The congressman did not speak to the crowd of reporters that chased after him as he left the courtroom and walked outside to a waiting car. He kept his lips tightly drawn and looked straight ahead, as he had in court, and stopped only once, to check on a female reporter who tripped and fell in the scramble to chase after him.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon after the story broke, Radel said he was “profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida,” and acknowledged that he continued to “struggle with the disease of alcoholism,” which he said “led to an extremely irresponsible choice.”