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Rep. Trey Radel to resign from Congress

QuestCinq.com/News

WASHINGTON — GOP Rep. Trey Radel of Florida, who pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in November, will resign from Congress on Monday.

Radel’s decision to step down was confirmed by his chief of staff, Dave Natonski.

Radel, a freshman who represents a Fort Myers-based district, returned to work in Washington earlier this month after taking a leave of absence to undergo treatment at a rehab facility. He had vowed to stay in office after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession.

Radel, 37, pleaded guilty Nov. 20 in District of Columbia Superior Court and was sentenced to supervised probation for one year, ordered to undergo substance abuse treatment and fined $250. He was caught buying 3.5 grams of cocaine on Oct. 29 from an undercover police officer.

STORY: Radel takes leave of absence after cocaine charge

A former radio talk show host and TV journalist, Radel had resisted calls from Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other Republicans to step aside. When he returned to work earlier this month for the new legislative session, he began making amends with his colleagues and apologized to them personally for his actions.

“This is something I will continue to work on the rest of my life,” he told reporters at the time. “I will take it one day at a time and, in doing so, I hope to rebuild and regain trust.”

STORY: Radel apologizes to GOP colleagues for cocaine use

The House Ethics Committee had said in December it would launch an investigation into whether Radel had broken congressional rules or broke other laws. Once he leaves Congress, the committee loses jurisdiction over his case.

A number of potential Republican candidates had already been eyeing the 19th Congressional District seat, including state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and Chauncey Goss, who was the runner-up in last year’s primary.

Former Rep. Connie Mack, who preceded Radel in Congress, had been considering running but only if Radel did not seek re-election.

Source: Ledyard King and Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

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