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Under cloud, Florida congressman resigns

MIAMI — Facing a House ethics investigation, a US representative from Florida who pleaded guilty to cocaine-possession charges last year resigned Monday after several GOP leaders requested that he step down.

Representative Trey Radel, a freshman Republican, disclosed his resignation in a letter to John Boehner, the House speaker, saying that although this year has ‘‘already been tremendously positive . . . some of my struggles had serious consequences.’’

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On Nov. 20, Radel pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession and was sentenced to a year of probation. He admitted to purchasing 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover officer Oct. 29 in Washington.

‘‘While I have dealt with those issues on a personal level, it is my belief that professionally I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States Representative to the place I love and call home, Southwest Florida,’’ Radel wrote in the letter.

Several GOP leaders, including Governor Rick Scott, had asked him to resign. But Radel had pledged to stay in office and rebuild constituents’ trust after taking a leave of absence and completing a monthlong inpatient treatment program for drug and alcohol abuse.

After returning to Congress this month, he apologized to Republican colleagues and assured them in a closed-door meeting that he was in a good place and had found a support group.

Political pressure, however, was building. The House Ethics Committee said last month that it was launching a formal investigation of the congressman, and at least one of his former rivals, former state representative Paige Kreegel, had vowed to challenge him in a GOP primary.

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