US Rep. Trey Radel (R) of Florida, a once-rising star in the tea party movement, resigned from Congress on Monday, following a November conviction of cocaine possession.
Congressman Radel pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of narcotics possession in November, after he was caught Oct. 29 trying to buy 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover federal agent in Washington’s Dupont Circle area. During his trial, he reportedly told Judge Robert Tignor that he had “hit a bottom” and realized that he needs help. Radel was sentenced to a one-year probation and a $250 fine.
At first, the freshman congressman, who speaks fluent Spanish and frequents Twitter, planned to serve out his congressional term after a six-week leave of absence and a month of inpatient rehabilitation for alcohol addiction. But on Monday, he reversed course and sent Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio a letter of resignation.
"Unfortunately, some of my struggles had serious consequences," he wrote, in his letter of resignation. "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," he wrote.