Rep. Weiner Admits Lying, Sending Lewd Photo, Inappropriate Conversations
Saying that "I have made terrible mistakes and have hurt the people I care about the most," a tearful Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) just admitted lying about a lewd photo he sent to a young woman and to having "inappropriate conversations" over social media and on the phone with "six women over the last three years."
He also said he is not going to resign from office.
Update at 5:55 p.m. ET. Pelosi Calls Ethics Investigation:
The AP reports that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is calling for an ethics committee investigation into whether Weiner broke House rules.
Update at 5 p.m. ET. Next, The Legal Debate:
The congressman has finished his appearance. He was asked several times if he thought he had done anything illegal. Weiner said no. But it's logical to think that there will be calls for investigations into whether he used government property — a phone, a BlackBerry, a computer — to engage in these activities.
Read down to see more on what he had to say and background on this story. Our colleague Frank James at It's All Politics will have more on the political implications.
Update at 4:50 p.m. ET. ABC News Interview With One Of The Women:
Weiner continues to take questions. Meanwhile, ABC News just posted a story that says his appearance "came as ABC News prepared to release an interview with Meagan Broussard, a 26-year-old single mother from Texas who provided dozens of photos, emails, Facebook messages and cell phone call logs that she says chronicle a sexually-charged electronic relationship with Weiner that rapidly-evolved for more than a month, starting on April 20, 2011."
Update at 4:45 p.m. ET:. Won't Challenge Women's Stories:
Asked if he engaged in phone sex with any of the women, Weiner said that out of concern for their privacy he would not characterize the exchanges. But he also said he would not "rebut anything or dispute anything that any of the women who've come forward are saying."
He said he is "not blaming anyone," that he does not have a drug or alcohol problem, and that "this was me doing a dumb thing ... doing it repeatedly and then lying about it."
Asked if he was sure none of the women who he had exchanges with were minors, Weiner said they had professed on the social media websites to be adults.
He never met any of the women, Weiner said, and added that he has "never had sex outside my marriage."
The congressman married Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, last July. He said they have no plans to separate.
Our original post resumes here:
The congressman's statement follows the posting online today of more photos of him that were allegedly sent to women in recent weeks — including some of a shirtless Weiner. The images surfaced on the BigGovernment.com website of conservative activist Andrew Breitbart.
And, at the tabloid-style website RadarOnline.com, there's a story today about an unnamed woman who claims she recently engaged in many "sexting" exchanges with the married New York Democrat.
Those reports came on the heels of the news in late May that someone had sent a lewd photo — using Weiner's Twitter account — to a young woman in Washington state. The "crotch shot" image was of an aroused man, in underwear. Over a series of days, Weiner insisted that he had not sent the image to the college student — but also said he could not say with "certitude" that it was not him in the picture.
The photos that came to light today — in particular the shirtless pose — recalled the image that cost Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) his job back in February. Lee resigned just hours after the photo, which the married congressman had sent to a woman who had posted an ad on Craigslist, was made public by the generally liberal website Gawker.
Weiner, 46, is a native of New York City who spent six years on the New York City Council before starting his House career in 1999.
In 2005, he launched an unsuccessful effort to become the Democratic nominee for mayor of New York, a position he had been expected to vigorously compete for in 2013 when Mayor Michael Bloomberg's third term ends. An April NY1/Marist College poll had Weiner leading — though barely - a pack of potential mayoral contenders. He has reportedly raised more than $5 million for the race.
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