Florida Rep. Radel apologizes to GOP colleagues

5:06 PM, Jan 9, 2014   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (News-Press) - Rep. Trey Radel of Florida began making amends with fellow House Republicans Wednesday, offering what one GOP lawmaker called a "heartfelt" apology for his past drug use.

The Fort Myers freshman, who was caught buying cocaine in October in an undercover sting, spoke for about a minute at a closed-door GOP meeting.

"He apologized ... for his actions," said Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla. "It was very short, very sweet."

Southerland said GOP leaders were silent after Radel spoke.

Radel returned to Capitol Hill Tuesday from a leave of absence he took after pleading guilty Nov. 20 to misdemeanor cocaine possession. He used his leave to complete a 28-day inpatient substance abuse treatment program in Naples.

He told reporters Tuesday evening that he's remorseful and continues to get help, particularly for alcoholism, which he has said led to his cocaine use.

"This is something I will continue to work on the rest of my life," he told reporters. "I will take it one day at a time and, in doing so, I hope to rebuild and regain trust."

Radel has been meeting with members individually, including Southerland, to "make amends."

Asked before Wednesday's meeting if he could forgive Radel, Southerland said, "I'm not his judge ... I'm eager to meet with him to hear what he's got to say."

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Written by Ledyard King News-Press Washington Bureau

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