Congressman Trey RadelThe state of Florida seems to really get the big news happenings, like the trial of a young mother accused of murdering her daughter, Caylee Anthony and George Zimmerman who was on trial for the murder of teenager Trayvon Martin.

Now the state has to deal with a new scandal. U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fort Meyers, has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of cocaine, Wednesday. The good Congressman says now that he will take a leave of absence in order to get treatment. Radel admitted in a District of Columbia courtroom that he did buy 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover police officer and only received a year of probation, but if he had been in the state of Florida when he was busted the charges would have been a felony which is punishable by up to five years in prison.

According to court records, Radel and an acquaintance went to a restaurant in the Dupont Circle on October 29 and met a man there that was the undercover officer. Radel said he has cocaine at his apartment and invited the men there, but they declined the invite. The officer then offered Radel 3.5 grams of cocaine for $250. When they went outside for reasons unknown Radel paid the man $10 more than the asking price and he took the drugs. When Federal agents approached him he dropped the drugs into the street but then agreed to talk to them inside his apartment where he admitted to what he had done and also gave the vial of cocaine that he already had in his apartment to the agents.

The Congressman has only been in office for 10 months now but has decided that he will donate any salary he makes while on leave of absence to charity. He said, “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.”

Here is the Congressman’s official statement found on his web site about his recent problem.

I’m profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida. I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.

In facing this charge, I realize the disappointment my family, friends and constituents must feel.  Believe me, I am disappointed in myself, and I stand ready to face the consequences of my actions.

However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side. It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling.  I know I have a problem and will do whatever is necessary to overcome it, hopefully setting an example for others struggling with this disease.

Please keep my family in your prayers.

Jan Barrett

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