ALEXANDRIA, Va. — US Senator Michael Crapo pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of driving while intoxicated and then apologized for his actions and asked forgiveness from his constituents.
The Idaho Republican said nothing during a brief appearance in Alexandria General District Court, where he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and was ordered to pay a $250 fine and complete an alcohol safety program. He also agreed to a 12-month suspension of his driver’s license. The sentence is typical for first-time drunken-driving offenders in Virginia.
Outside of court and in a subsequent conference call with reporters in his home state, Crapo apologized and said he had been drinking alcohol a few nights a week, in violation of the tenets of his Mormon faith.
Crapo said he tried alcohol for the first time about a year ago, though he could not remember the details. It was a misguided attempt to relieve stress, he said, and he always kept his use of alcohol hidden, drinking alone in his Washington, D.C., apartment. The night of his arrest was the first time he had driven drunk, Crapo said.
‘‘I was already thinking in my own mind that this had to end,’’ Crapo said. ‘‘I believe in my heart that I had already recognized that I was on a bad path and I needed to find a different path to follow.’’
Crapo said he drank ‘‘several, probably two to three’’ vodka tonics at his Washington home on the night of Dec. 22 when he became restless, couldn’t sleep, and went out for a drive.It was not until he had been driving for about 30 minutes that he realized he was in no condition to drive and started to return home, he said. He ran a red light and was pulled over in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, in the early morning hours of Dec. 23.
Crapo failed a field sobriety test and registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent after his arrest, police said, above the legal limit of 0.08. No mention of his blood-alcohol level was made in court Friday, but a second test performed after Crapo was brought to the jailhouse registered at 0.14 percent, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the arrest. The official was not authorized to release information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
‘‘I am grateful, truly grateful, that no one was injured,’’ Crapo said.
Congress officially confirms Obama and Biden victory
WASHINGTON — President Obama and Vice President Biden will serve another term in the White House.
Although that may seem like old news, a joint session of Congress confirmed the Democratic ticket’s victory Friday, tallying the ballots from the Electoral College to officially declare Obama the winner with 332 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 206 votes.
Capping off a week that started with an 11th-hour resolution to the fiscal impasse by the departing Congress, the session offered another moment of tradition as the new Congress, fresh from the swearing-in ceremonies Thursday, fulfilled the constitutionally mandated practice of certifying the presidential election results.
The newly reappointed Democratic leaders, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, sat together as Biden announced the results in his role as president of the Senate.
Pelosi defends altered photo of women in Congress
WASHINGTON — House minority leader Nancy Pelosi on Friday defended an altered picture of Democratic congresswomen that was posted on her Flickr photo-sharing site.
The photo showed four House members who were not in the original picture, which was taken Thursday, when lawmakers were sworn in as members of the 113th Congress. They arrived at the Capitol steps late, and their images were inserted with a computer program.
‘‘It was an accurate historical record of who the Democratic women of Congress are,’’ Pelosi told a news conference. ‘‘It also is an accurate record that it was freezing cold and our members had been waiting a long time for everyone to arrive and . . . had to get back into the building to greet constituents, family members, to get ready to go to the floor. It wasn’t like they had the rest of the day to stand there.’’