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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Trey Radel says he'll take leave of absence from Congress



WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, the Fort Myers Republican who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of cocaine on Wednesday, said he would take a leave of absence to get treatment.

"Sometimes in life you need a wake up call," he said at a 10:30 p.m. news conference in Cape Coral. "I have had my wake-up call."

Radel, who has been in office only 10 months, apologized for letting down voters and his family but said he thinks he can overcome his problem vowed to return and become a role model for others.

"I do believe in faith, forgiveness and redemption and I hope to come out of this a stronger man, a better man for all of you."

He began the day in a District of Columbia courtroom, admitting he bought 3.5 grams of cocaine - an 8-ball in the lexicon of the street – from an undercover police officer and receiving a year of probation.

Had the former TV reporter been arrested in Florida he would have faced a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

"I apologize for what I've done. I think in life I've hit a bottom where I need help," Radel, 37, said in court.

Full story here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 11:09pm]


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