Embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner has come clean.
At a tense press conference on Monday, the six-term New York Democrat admitted to posting a lewd photo of himself on Twitter. The stunning turnaround came following a week of him issuing nothing but denials and often getting surly with reporters, before cutting them off completely.
While addressing the media at the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, Weiner made the following statement: “Last Friday night I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I posted it to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story to stick to that story which was a hugely regrettable mistake.”
Weiner apologized to the Seattle student, who was on the receiving end of the tweet.
Sources told CBS 2 that Weiner decided over the weekend that he would go public with his admission, but had not set a date to do so. Those sources said the release of new photographs forced him to call Monday’s press conference.
“To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent it. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife, Huma, and our family, and my constituents, my friends, supporters and staff,” Weiner said.
Sources also said that Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, was willing to stand by her husband as he addressed the media, but that Weiner insisted she not be there, saying “it’s my responsibility. I’ll deal with it.”
In addition, the congressman said that “over the past few years I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and occasionally on the phone with women I have met online.”
Weiner said he “exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.” He said “most” of the communications took place before his marriage, but admitted some took place afterward.
One of those women was Meagan Broussard, a 26-year-old single mother from Texas. She told ABC News that Weiner was “eager to hear about if I wanted him or thought he was attractive.”
Earlier, conservative author Andrew Breitbart posted two pictures of Weiner on his website BigGovernment.com, which Breitbart claimed were e-mailed to a young woman, who turned out to be Broussard.
Breitbart said the photographs were sent to the woman from Weiner’s AOL email account via his BlackBerry on May 4