Tuesday 22 August 2017

Wife splits from scandal-hit Anthony Weiner amid fresh sexting allegations

Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin (AP)
Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin (AP)

Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin has said she is leaving her husband, Anthony Weiner, after the former New York congressman faced fresh sexting allegations.

"After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband," said Ms Abedin, vice-chair of Mrs Clinton's presidential campaign, in a statement.

"Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life."

The New York Post published photos late on Sunday that it said Mr Weiner, a Democrat, had sent last year to a woman. The tabloid identified her only as a "40-something divorcee" who lives "out West" and is a supporter of Republican Donald Trump.

The photos included several shots of Mr Weiner bare-chested. In one of the pictures, Mr Weiner is lying on a bed with his toddler son while he is texting the woman, it is alleged. The tabloid also ran sexually suggestive text messages that it claimed the two exchanged.

Mr Weiner told the Post that he and the woman "have been friends for some time".

"She has asked me not to comment except to say that our conversations were private, often included pictures of her nieces and nephews and my son and were always appropriate," he told the newspaper.

The Post did not say how it had obtained the photographs and messages.

Ms Abedin, 40, is a long-time aide and confidante to Mrs Clinton who is often referred to as the candidate's second daughter. She is widely expected to play an important role in a Clinton administration if the Democrat is elected president.

The marital split spilled into the presidential campaign, with Mr Trump seizing on it to accuse Mrs Clinton of "bad judgment". He suggested that Mr Weiner might have seen and spread classified information, but offered no evidence to support the allegation.

Ms Abedin has been under scrutiny during the probe into Mrs Clinton's use of a private email system while she was secretary of state. Federal prosecutors declined to file charges in the investigation, but FBI director James Comey said Mrs Clinton and her aides had been "extremely careless" in their handling of classified information.

Mr Weiner quit Congress in 2011 after it was discovered that he was sending women sexually explicit messages. Mr Weiner ran for mayor of New York in 2013, but that bid collapsed after it was reported that he had continued to sext women.

Since his mayoral bid, Mr Weiner has remained in the public eye, commenting on politics on a local cable news show. A documentary offering a cringe-inducing inside view of his mayoral campaign and played in cinemas earlier this year.

In the documentary, Mr Weiner allowed the camera crew extraordinary access even after the new scandal broke. His wife appeared stricken and deeply uncomfortable as the cameras continued to roll.

Ms Abedin began working for the former first lady as a White House intern and became a trusted aide and adviser as Mrs Clinton won a seat in the Senate representing New York in 2000, ran for president in 2008 and served as President Barack Obama's secretary of state.

Ms Abedin and Mr Weiner were married in 2010 at a wedding officiated by former president Bill Clinton. They have a four-year-old son, Jordan.

AP

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