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Monday
Jun062011

Rep. Anthony Weiner: 'The Picture Was of Me and I Sent It'

ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE || One of the women involved in the "Weinergate" scandal, Meagan Broussard, in a self portait. ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York said Monday he has engaged in "several inappropriate" electronic relationships with six women over three years, and that he publicly lied about a photo of himself sent over Twitter to a college student in Seattle over a week ago.  He said, however, that he would not resign from his post.

"I take full responsibility for my actions," Weiner said. "The picture was of me, and I sent it."

The announcement came as ABC News prepared to release an interview with Meagan Broussard, a 26-year-old single mother from Texas who provided dozens of photos, emails, Facebook messages and cellphone call logs that she says chronicle a sexually-charged electronic relationship with Weiner that rapidly-evolved for more than a month, starting on April 20, 2011.

ABC News reached out to Weiner earlier Monday for comment about his possible ties to Broussard, but he did not respond to requests for an interview. At a press conference later, Weiner confirmed Broussard was one of the women with whom he sexted.

Broussard's story had threatened to expose the secret online life of one of the House Democrats' most popular members, and a man many considered a leading candidate for mayor of New York City.

It also raised new questions about Weiner's explanation for how a photo of a man's groin area ended up on his public Twitter feed on May 27. Monday the Congressman said he accidentally sent the image to a woman, Gennette Cordova, who was following him on Twitter, as a joke.

Broussard said she received the same photo of a man's crotch on May 18 in an email from a man who she then believed was Weiner.

Weiner, who married Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's aide Huma Abedin last year, told ABC News last week that the Twitter incident was a "prank" on him, but he neither confirmed nor denied at the time that the photo depicted his body. "I am reluctant to say anything definitively about this," he said of the photo.

Broussard, who describes herself as disinterested in politics and previously unaware of Weiner, said that she has never met the congressman in person and doesn't "think he's a bad guy." And, she said, she actively participated in "sexting" -- as she has done frequently with other men online -- with the man she presumed to be Weiner.  View an exclusive slideshow of images obtained by ABC News.

Weiner, however, has his work cut out for him when it comes to convincing his fellow members of Congress. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Steve Israel both called for an Ethics Committee investigation.

"I am deeply disappointed and saddened about this situation; for Anthony's wife, Huma, his family, his staff and his constituents," Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement. "I am calling for an Ethics Committee investigation to determine whether any official resources were used or any other violation of House rules occurred."

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