A Republican rising star led a double life during his short career as a Washington lawmaker, often visiting the city’s drug trade to purchase cocaine.
Trey Radel, the Florida congressman, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine in the Washington DC Superior Court on Wednesday morning, admitting he had purchased the drug from an undercover officer in Dupont Circle in the city in October.
The former television broadcaster who was just 10 months into his first term in Congress, was sentenced to one year on probation and will undergo treatment in Florida, The Washington Post reported.
He told the court: “I hit a bottom and I realise I need help.”
But Radel is yet to state whether he will resign from Congress. The House’s leadership has said the matter should be left to the courts, Radel and his family.
According to US media, the 37-year-old stood out among other politicians for his willingness to challenge veteran legislations in attempts to cut public spending. He rallied members to axe the National Sheep Industry Improvement Centre this summer.
But charging documents presented to the court said Radel had at the same time made links to the city’s drug trade and, had purchased cocaine on several occasions.
He was accused of unwittingly inviting a drug agent to his home to use cocaine on 29 October, and had bought 3.5 grams of the drug for around $260. He reportedly dropped the drugs on the street as officers approached and when his home was searched a vial containing cocaine was discovered.
“I am so sorry to be here,” The Washington Post reported Radel as saying on Wednesday. “I have let my constituents, my country and my family down. I want to come out of this stronger and I intend to do that, to be a better man, a better husband and continue serving this country.”