Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) said Wednesday he'll take a leave of absence following his sentencing to one-year probation for cocaine possession.
"I have no excuse for what I've done," Radel said during a press conference in Florida. "And I'm not gonna sit here trying to make any excuses for what I've done. I let down our country, I've let down our constituents, I've let down my family, including my wife and even though he doesn't know it, I've let down my 2-year-old son."
Radel gave no indication when his leave will begin or how long it will last. He said that his staff will work while he's away and that he will donate his salary from the period to charity.
Radel said he has dealt with alcoholism off and on for years, following the "terrible and tragic" death of his mother.
"I hope, like family, southwest Florida can forgive me for this," he said. "I've let them down, but 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."
Radel said he has sought help and will continue to seek help.
"Sometimes in life you need a wake up call. This is my wake up call," he said.
Radel was targeted in a Washington, D.C., police covert operation last month after sources told law enforcement officers that the representative had purchased cocaine on several occasions. He appeared at District of Columbia Superior Court earlier on Wednesday to plead guilty to the charge of cocaine possession.
Ron Machen, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said Radel's conduct couldn't be ignored.
"Mr. Radel’s guilty plea is similar to those entered every year by hundreds of other drug offenders in the District of Columbia who possess illegal narcotics," Machen said in the statement. "We appreciate his willingness to promptly accept responsibility for his conduct.”
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