Florida Congressman Trey Radel is speaking out for the first time since his arrest on cocaine charges and dropped a bombshell last night, during a late-night press conference. ABC's Diana Perez has more.
Speaking to reporters from his office in Cape Coral, Florida, a contrite Congressman, Trey Radel apologized and announced he's taking a leave of absence.
"I'm sorry. I have no excuse for what I've done. I've let down our country. I've let down my constituents. I've let down my family," said Rep. Try Radel, R- Florida.
During the news conference, Radel admitted he's been struggling with alcoholism and substance abuse, on and off for years. The Florida republican and tea party favorite pleaded guilty to cocaine possession, after being nabbed in a federal sting. Because the charge is only a misdemeanor, Radel was sentenced to a year's probation.
Florida democrats are asking for his resignation. Already, supporters are rallying behind him.
"Should he resign? Absolutely not. He's gonna come out a better person for this. And I believe that people of Southwest Florida are gonna benefit from that," said Dan Ashby, National Coalition for Patriots.
"Smart, hardworking, dedicated, loyal. Strong Trey supporters believe he can fight through this, he can get better, and he should stay in office because he worked so hard for Southwest Florida," said Michael Francis, Program Director for 92.5 FOX News.
During his leave of absence, Radel says he will donate his salary to charity. And like so many fallen public figures before him, Radel drew on his strength.
"I believe in faith. I believe in forgiveness and redemption," said Rep. Radel.
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