Tea Party Florida congressman to be arraigned on drug charge

MIAMI Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:39pm EST

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MIAMI (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Trey Radel, a Tea Party Republican from Florida, is due to be arraigned in a Washington, D.C. court on Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge of drug possession, according to court documents.

The Tampa Bay Times reported on its website on Tuesday that the drug possession charge involved cocaine. According to the Times, "A court document said on October 29 Radel 'did unlawfully, knowingly, and intentionally possess a quantity of cocaine, a controlled substance.'"

In a statement Radel apologized to his family and constituents in southwest Florida, saying that he struggled "with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice."

Radel, a freshman member of Congress who calls himself a "Hip Hop Conservative, Lover of #liberty" on his Twitter page, faces a possible six months in jail.

"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," he said, adding that he would be seeking treatment and counseling.

Had he been arrested in Florida, where cocaine possession is a felony, Radel could be facing even more serious legal problems, including loss of his voting rights and the right to carry a firearm.

Before running for Congress, Radel hosted a conservative TV and radio talk show in Florida.

The Tea Party is a conservative political movement that emerged nationally in 2009 in protest of the federal government.

(Reporting By David Adams and)

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