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Congressman apologizes after cocaine charge

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WASHINGTON -

Florida Republican Trey Radel apologized to his family and constituents late last night and said he is seeking help for his addictions. He wants to continue serving his country, but it remains to be seen if his constituents and colleagues will support him.

Florida Congressman Trey Radel is hoping to keep his job despite his drug conviction.

“I do believe in faith, forgiveness and redemption," said Rep. Trey Radel, R-Florida.

The 37 year old Republican is taking a leave of absence from Congress to get treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.

“I hope to come out of this a stronger and better man for all of you," said Radel.

A judge sentenced Radel to a year of probation Wednesday after he admitted buying cocaine from an undercover agent in a Washington, D.C. park.  Prosecutors say the lawmaker routinely bought and used cocaine.

Radel’s wife was not with him in court or at his late night news conference in Florida. 

"She has stuck with me and will continue to stick with me.  I am so proud to have my wife.  She is my rock, through all of this," said Radel.

But Radel also has to answer to his constituents.  The congressman’s hometown newspaper is calling call for his resignation, saying he purposely kept hidden additions that automatically make him an ineffective leader. 

If Radel had been arrested in Florida with the same amount of cocaine it would be a third-degree felony punishable by five years in prison under state law.

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