Anthony Weiner admits lying about online photos
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) admitted Monday that he had sent explicit photographs of himself to women online and apologized to his family and constituents for what he called a “hugely regrettable mistake.”
“I haven’t told the truth. And I’ve done things I deeply regret. I’ve brought pain to people I care about the most and people who believe in me. And for that, I’m deeply sorry,” an emotional Weiner said at a New York news conference.
Weiner said that “over the past few years I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations” online. The conversations and photographs he sent were of an “explicit nature,” he said, and some took place after his marriage.
“I never was in the same room with them. I never had any physical relationship whatsoever,” Weiner added between sniffles, light sobs and gulps of water.
Though he said he came to accept “full responsibility for what I’ve done,” the seven-term New York congressman said he would not resign. He said he was confident he had not violated the rules of the House or his oath of office.
“I’m deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment and actions,” he said.
In a bizarre scene, conservative barb-thrower Andrew Breitbart took to the lectern before Weiner arrived. It was Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com website that on Monday reignited the frenzy it had started last week with a series of new posts, one showing a photo of a man’s naked torso it claimed was Weiner.
Breitbart defended the legitimacy of the site’s reporting and said he hoped Weiner would apologize for “being complicit in a blame-the-messenger strategy” for saying his account was hacked. He also claimed to have another “X-rated” image of the congressman that he would not release.
BigGovernment.com says it obtained the photos because of a tip from a young woman, who claimed Weiner sent them to her from his personal email account. That same email address was used to send the explicit photo focusing on the crotch of a man in boxer shorts that Breitbart released last week.
Weiner, in a series of interviews and press statements, struggled to offer a clear explanation of whether the photo showed his body and how it could have been made public via Twitter. He repeatedly claimed his Twitter account had been hacked but offered no evidence to support the assertion.
At the news conference Monday, Weiner admitted to misleading the press. He said he panicked after realizing more than a week ago that he had publicly sent a photo that he intended to send privately through the website Twitter.
Also Monday, the website Radar Online reported that another woman claimed to have “200 sexually explicit messages from Weiner from a Facebook account the Democratic politician no longer uses.” The site said the woman who provided the information was a Democratic campaign volunteer who never had met the congressman.
Weiner represents New York’s 9th District, which includes portions of Brooklyn and Queens in New York City. A 2005 candidate for mayor, Weiner was widely expected to run again in 2013 when Michael Bloomberg’s term expired.
Weiner said he spoke Monday with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and that she encouraged him to be truthful. Weiner said he hoped to convince his constituents that he could overcome his “personal failing.”