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After days of denials, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) admitted Monday to tweeting a picture of himself wearing boxer briefs to a Seattle college student that was intended to be seen only be her but was viewable to thousands of his followers on the social media website.
Weiner, who choked up at times during a news conference he called to take responsibility for the picture, said he was not resigning because he does not believe he violated his congressional oath or any laws.
“I have made terrible mistakes that have hurt the people I care about the most and I am deeply sorry,” an emotional Weiner told reporters at the Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan. “I have not been honest with myself, my family, my supporters.”
Weiner said the photo of his crotch was intended as a direct message to 21-year-old Gennette Cordova “that was a joke,” but he panicked when he realized the picture could be seen by anyone following his Twitter account and took it down himself.
The congressman initially said his Twitter account was hacked and stuck with the story for about a week until more photos were released Monday by right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart that showed Weiner shirtless.
“The picture was of me and I sent it,” Weiner said.
The congressman also admitted to engaging in “inappropriate conversations, e-mail, Twitter” and pictures of “explicit images” that he shared with six women, although he said he had no physical relationships with them.
Weiner said his wife, Huma Abedin — an aide to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — was aware of the online relationships before they were married and that the relationships started before the marriage.
“I should not have done this and I should not have done this while I was married,” he said.
Weiner said the online exchanges were conducted on his personal BlackBerry and his home computer and that government property was not used.
The congressman said that in some cases he initiated contact with the women and most of them he met on Facebook, but said he never met them in person.
When asked if he deserves another term in office, Weiner said it is up to voters to decide.
“My constituents have to make that determination,” he said. “I’m going to go back to work and I’m going to convince them this was a personal failing.”
Weiner, who has more than 65,000 Twitter followers, said he will still use the social media site.
“I don’t believe I’ll use it the same way, that’s for sure,” he said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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