Video: US Congressman ‘used office phone’ for sex chat with blackjack dealer
Published 08/06/2011 | 08:33
Anthony Weiner, the US congressman who lied about lewd online exchanges with female admirers, was mired in further controversy on Tuesday, as women alleged he used his office to carry out the affairs.
The married New York Democrat was under intense pressure as the reason he gave for not resigning – that he kept the sexual messages and pictures separate from his work – was challenged.
Mr Weiner is now set to face an inquiry by the Ethics Committee of the House of Representatives, which could recommend that he be reprimanded, fined, or even expelled if official resources were misused.
A Las Vegas Blackjack dealer claimed he had called her for phone sex from a congressional line, while a pornographic actress alleged he offered to have someone from his "team" help her prepare misleading responses to media enquiries.
In a tearful confession during a press conference on Monday night, Mr Weiner, who is facing calls to resign, said he had "inappropriate conversations" with six women over three years via Facebook, Twitter and telephone.
Last week he sent a picture of his crotch to a student in Seattle via Twitter, and accidentally made it public. He then claimed his account was hacked, but the story unravelled when more pictures came to light.
When asked: "Did you use government resources for this kind of activity?", he replied: "I did not".
Asked if he used "congressional phones, congressional email, congressional time", he said: "No, I didn't".
But Lisa Weiss, a 40-year-old blackjack dealer, who said she had exchanged 220 messages with Mr Weiner since contacting him on Facebook in August last year, claimed this was not the case.
"I gave him my number and he called me from his office and we proceeded to talk dirty for at least 30 minutes," she told RadarOnline.
"A few days later, I tried to call him back on that number – there was a recorded message that it was an outgoing US Congress line only."
Five of their 15 messaging sessions occurred during days when Mr Weiner spoke in congressional debates, Miss Weiss alleges, adding that he ended one, on the day of a crucial vote, with the words: "off to class".
She produced explicit records of the congressman telling her to send naked photographs and describing his state of arousal. He said he was a "caped crusader" who was "looking for my sidekick".
Meanwhile Ginger Lee, a pornographic actress who says she exchanged sexual emails with Mr Weiner, said he sent her a message suggesting she tell the press she had "nothing to do" with his situation.
"Do you need to talk to a professional PR type person to give u advice?", he allegedly wrote.
"I can have someone on my team call."
Mr Weiner, 46, said he had not "violated any rules" of the House of Representatives. Its code of conduct says congressmen must "behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House".
The House ethics manual states congressmen "should not in any way use their office for private gain".
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, and Harry Reid, the Senate leader, pointedly refused to support him.
Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said: "We do not need an investigation to know he lied and acted inappropriately. We need a resignation."
Mr Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, is a 34-year-old aide to Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State. "I love my wife very much, and we have no intention of splitting up over this," he said.