Rep. Bob Filner (D-Va.), chairman of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, admitted to a trespassing charge in state court today and was fined $100 after a run-in with a United Airlines employee at Dulles Airport, according to The Associated Press.
Filner agreed to accept what is known as a Alford plea, meaning he did not admit guilt in the case but acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict him. Filner was originally charged with assault and battery, and a trial was set to begin next week, but prosecutors agreed to reduce the charge to trespassing. Filner was fined $100.
On Aug. 19, Filner tried to get into an employees-only area of the airport to retrieve his baggage, saying that as a member of Congress, he was allowed to do so.
According to AP, Filner made this statement in court today: ''At the time, it wouldn't have occurred to me that entering an airport office under these circumstances would be considered trespassing. But I understand now that, since I was told to stay out, it can be considered trespass. That's why I'm entering what I understand is called an Alford plea: I did, in fact, go back there,'' Filner said.
''I want to make clear that I did not strike, push, or shove anyone,'' he said. ''It's very important to me that the record be clear on this point. Nor did I seek any sort of special treatment because I was a congressman.''
Filner remains under investigation by the House ethics committee.
Update - Filner did not mention that he was a member of Congress during the Dulles trespassing episode. That came from a February 2003 incident where Filner allegedly yelled at immigration officials at a California detention facility. I regret the error.