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Scandal-Plagued US Senator Reconsidering Resignation

An aide to U.S. Senator Larry Craig says Craig may reconsider his decision to resign if he is cleared of charges stemming from an undercover sex sting operation.

The Republican lawmaker from the northwestern state of Idaho announced last Saturday that he intended to leave the Senate on September 30. But a spokesman said Tuesday that Craig is fighting the charges and may withdraw his resignation if he is cleared before then.

The scandal first broke last week, when a Washington-based newspaper, Roll Call, reported that Craig had been arrested in June at an airport in the northern city and state of Minneapolis, Minnesota, for allegedly soliciting an undercover police officer for sex in a men's restroom.

He denied the charges, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charged of disorderly conduct.

Many Senate Republicans strongly denounced Craig and demanded his resignation. But another Republican, Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter, has urged his colleague to fight the charges.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perrino says it is Craig's decision whether or not he will step down. She says the administration stands by its initial reaction of disappointment about the matter.

Craig has said that he pleaded guilty to make the issue "go away."

The senator has hired several prominent attorneys, including Washington-based lawyer Billy Martin, who recently represented disgraced National Football League quarterback Michael Vick.

Craig was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Idaho in 1980. He served four terms in the House before his election to the Senate in 1990. He is a conservative who has spoken out against gay rights, including same-sex marriage.

Some information for this report was provided by AP .