US Representative Anthony Weiner has told friends he is stepping down after an internet sex scandal, The New York Times reported today.
Fellow congressional Democrats have pressured him to quit the House of Representatives and spare the party further embarrassment after he admitted sending lewd photos of himself to and holding steamy internet chats with a number of women.
Weiner reached the decision to resign after speaking with his wife, Huma Abedin, an aide to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who returned from an overseas trip on Tuesday, the Times reported.
The New York congressman said he would seek treatment and was granted a "short leave" of absence from the House.
The latest pictures to surface on Sunday were of a scantily clad Weiner in the congressional gym - raising the possibility of House ethics violations.
Weiner, 46, has been married less than a year to Abedin, 35. Former President Bill Clinton officiated at their wedding last July.
Earlier a former porn actress, who said she exchanged emails and messages over Twitter with Weiner, said that he asked her to lie about their online communications.
Ginger Lee said she and Weiner exchanged about 100 emails between March and June after Ms Lee had posted a supportive statement about the congressman on her blog.
She said they mostly discussed politics, but that he would often turn the conversation to sex.
"I have wardrobe demands too … I need to highlight my package," Mr Weiner wrote to Ms Lee in an email read aloud at a news conference by her attorney Gloria Allred.
Mr Weiner acknowledged last week that he had sent lewd photos and texts to women after a photo of his crotch was posted on Twitter.
In an interview two weeks ago, he acknowledged that he had exchanged messages with Ms Lee but he did not elaborate. She said she did not send any suggestive messages to Weiner.
"Any time that he would take our communications in a sexual direction, I did not reciprocate," she said.
Mr Weiner sent Lee an email after the photo of his crotch was sent out on his Twitter account and "he asked me to lie" about their contact, she said.
A spokeswoman for Mr Weiner did not return a request for comment.