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Larry Craig files report on his legal defense fund

WASHINGTON - Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, who has quit his efforts to overturn his 2007 guilty plea to charges connected with his arrest in a sex sting, has reported his legal expenditures and donations.

A legal defense fund he established last summer has raised $19,585 since Oct. 1, according to a report filed this week in the U.S. Senate. So far, "The Fund for Justice" has raised $24,230 and spent $20,109.

Craig spent $15,000 on legal fees, according to the filing. Of that, $5,000 went to his Minneapolis attorney, Tom Kelly, in October. Another $10,000 went to his main lawyer in Washington, D.C., Billy Martin, in November. The rest of the money went toward printing costs and the expense of setting up a Web site. His wife was reimbursed $1,797 for unspecified expenses.

Craig's legal problems began with his arrest in an airport men's room on June 11, 2007, after police said he'd solicited an undercover officer for sex. Airport police, spurred by complaints of sex in that particular men's room, were running a sting operation.

Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after talking to a prosecutor over the phone and mailing in a $575 fine. He never consulted an attorney.

After the news broke about his arrest, Craig tried to undo his guilty plea, hiring an expensive legal team in both Minnesota and Washington, D.C. He took his case all the way to the Minnesota Court of Appeals until he abandoned it last week.

Craig in 2007 and early 2008 spent $407,658 of the money in his campaign account on lawyers.

He stopped using that money when the Senate Ethics Committee chastised him in a public letter of admonishment.

The committee faulted him for not getting permission to use leftover campaign money to pay his legal fees. He later set up his legal expense fund.

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