Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

U.S. Rep. Trey Radel out of rehab, says he won't resign

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, the Fort Myers Republican who was busted buying cocaine from an undercover officer in Washington last month, said Thursday he will not resign, defying calls from local and state Republicans.

"I love what I do and I'm going to return to what I do, what you sent me to do in Washington, D.C.," Radel said in Cape Coral.

The 37-year-old former TV reporter blamed his troubles on alcoholism and insisted he had used cocaine only a "handful" of times, repeatedly dodging questions about his drug use and who he was with the night of the bust.

In a surreal news conference, streamed live on the Internet, reporters asked Radel if he had ever been "high or drunk" while voting ("never," he answered) and about his support for legislation requiring welfare recipients to be drug tested, to which he said it would be good for members of Congress to be tested, too.

Radel spoke after emerging from an addiction treatment center in Naples. He did not specifically say when he would return, but the House is on holiday recess until the second week of January.

On Nov. 21, Radel admitted in a District of Columbia courtroom to buying 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover police officer. A judge sentenced him to one year of probation.

According to authorities and court documents, on Oct. 29 Radel and an acquaintance went to a restaurant in the Dupont Circle area of Washington and met a man, who was an undercover police officer. The officer offered to sell Radel 3.5 grams of cocaine for $250. Outside, as federal agents approached, Radel dropped the cocaine in the street.

"The defendant agreed to speak with federal agents about what had just taken place and invited them to his apartment," court documents state. "There, he voluntarily admitted that he had purchased the cocaine. The defendant also retrieved and provided to the agents a vial of cocaine that he had in his apartment."

Despite the arrest, the news did not surface until Nov. 19. In between, Radel used social media as if nothing happened and even held a fundraiser.

U.S. Rep. Trey Radel out of rehab, says he won't resign 12/19/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 19, 2013 10:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Observations from a liberal, gay, Latino, feminist Florida House freshman


    State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando,  rocked the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus dinner at Tallahassee's Hotel Duval Satursday night with his unabashedly liberal and passionate take on the myriad issues he said are key to LGBTQ Floridians. Among them: Access to guns, Reproductive rights, home …

    Carlos G. Smith
  2. Delta Sigma Theta honors outgoing national president

    Human Interest

    During her four years as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Paulette Walker said she always focused on the comma between "Sorority" and "Inc."

    Paulette Walker, the former director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, will be honored on Saturday for her leadership in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
  3. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  4. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion


    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  5. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.