Thompson Adviser Quits After Reports of His Criminal Past

Republican presidential hopeful, former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., talks to reporters outside NBC Studios in Washington, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2007. (AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A report about an old drug conviction has forced an adviser to Republican Fred Thompson's campaign to quit.

Philip Martin issued a statement today saying he was resigning as chairman of a "Friends of Fred Thompson" group in the wake of yesterday's report.

Martin said the focus of the campaign should be on Thompson's positions, and not on what he called "mistakes I made some 24 years ago."

Thompson has flown around the country in a private jet provided by Martin.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that Martin pleaded guilty to the sale of 11 pounds of marijuana in 1979 and that he pleaded no contest to cocaine-trafficking and conspiracy charges while still on probation for the 1979 case.

Appearing yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Thompson said he wouldn't throw his friend "under the bus" for something he did 25 years ago.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)