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Representative Radel Finds Sympathy For Plight Over Cocaine Bust

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Despite calls for him to resign after pleading guilty to cocaine possession, Representative Trey Radel (R-Fla.) says people in both parties say they wish him well.

“I don’t know the depth of his problem or his situation that well. If it were me, I would probably realize there’s a lot more to life than being a member of Congress and getting my life in order is the priority,” fellow Floridian and GOP Representative Dennis A. Ross told Roll Call. “But I don’t think that anybody can put themselves in his shoes.”

Radel has withstood calls for his resignation — including calls from Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott and state GOP Chairman Lenny Curry — and checked himself into a drug rehabilitation center. In exchange for his plea, Radel was placed on probation and ordered to pay a $250 fine.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) haven’t called for his resignation or sought any significant punishment, nor have they issued any statements condemning his behavior, Roll Call reported Monday.

Some Florida Democrats showed some sympathy for Radel, even as leaders of his party called on him to quit.

“I really have enjoyed building a relationship with Trey and wish him my heartfelt best and hope that he is able to surmount this very personal challenge,” said Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.

Also wishing Radel well was Representative Alcee L. Hastings (R-Fla.), who before his legislative career was one of several judges impeached by the House and removed from office by the Senate on a bribery charge.

“Far be it for me, one who has substantial amount of negative celebrity over the course of my life, to pick on anybody,” Hastings told Roll Call.

Hastings said he thought Radel was doing right by his family and his constituents.

“I wish him well and I support Trey’s family and his constituents’ decisions,” Hastings said.

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