Prosecutors: Radel a 'routine' cocaine user

Prosecutors: Radel a 'routine' cocaine user

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

UPDATE: Florida Republican Rep. Henry "Trey" Radel says he's taking a leave of absence from Congress and donating his salary to charity after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession and receiving a sentence of a year's probation.


Radel made the announcement late Wednesday at a news conference where he acknowledged that he had let down his country, his family and southwest Florida residents.

He said takes responsibility for what he did, saying, quote, "I want to be a better man."

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U.S. attorneys say Congressman Trey Radel is a routine cocaine user. But he's still in office, and he's not going to jail.

Radel was caught buying cocaine outside a restaurant in Washington. Then when agents nabbed him. He invited them to his apartment, and showed them another vial of cocaine.

That could have led to jail time in Florida, but the laws are different in Washington. Radel told a judge he's sorry, and he walked out with probation.

Radel supported drug tests for food stamp recipients.

In light of Radel's problems and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's problems, people are saying we ought to drug test politicians.

Radel said he'd bring integrity to Washington. He even wrote this note on his hand- to remind him to 'not screw up'

As a Republican congressman, he jumped right in. He co-sponsored a plan to change our drug penalties, also voting to drug test people on food stamps.

Then HE got busted for buying cocaine.

Radel preached responsibility, and ripped President Obama. He called himself a "hip hop conservative," and he said his favorite vacation spot was Colombia.

But now that U.S. attorneys say he was routinely using and buying cocaine, Radel wasn't talking at all Wednesday.

In a statement, Radel blamed his cocaine problem on his drinking problem. Had he been busted in Florida, Radel could have faced years in prison and lost his right to vote.

But in Washington D.C., he admitted guilt, and wound up with a year of probation.

It also appears as if Radel can stay in Congress. House speaker John Boehner is not taking action against him.

Though from now on-- Boehner may want to rethink his analogies.

"Giving this government more revenue would be like giving a cocaine addict who wants to quit more cocaine," Boehner said in a speech.

A couple of years ago, a group of state lawmakers tried to require drug tests for legislators.

Their plan was shot down.

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