"We've retained counsel to explore the proper next steps and to advise us on what civil or criminal actions should be taken," Weiner spokesman Dave Arnold said in an email to The Daily Caller. "This was a prank. We are loath to treat it as more, but we are relying on professional advice."
Arnold had previously dismissed the incident as a "distraction."
Over the weekend, the story was quickly pushed by conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website, which posted a story shortly after midnight on Saturday. From there, the photograph fueled speculation from other bloggers -- particularly about the woman to whom it was directed, who once tweeted "I wonder what my boyfriend @RepWeiner is up to." The woman, Gennette Cordova, received so much attention as a result of the incident that she issued a statement, published by The New York Daily News.
"The point I am trying to make is that, contrary to the impression that I apparently gave from my tweet, I am not his girlfriend," Cordova wrote. "Nor am I the wife, girlfriend or mistress of Barack Obama, Ray Allen or Cristiano Ronaldo, despite the fact that I have made similar assertions about them via Twitter."
Cordova told the Daily News she's never met Weiner, though the congressman does "follow" her on the social networking site. In her statement, Cordova also wrote that she knew the Twitter accounts that first seized on the image -- and they were no fans of Weiner.
The account that these tweets were sent from was familiar to me; this person had harassed me many times after the Congressman followed me on Twitter a month or so ago. Since I had dealt with this person and his cohorts before I assumed that the tweet and the picture were their latest attempts at defaming the Congressman and harassing his supporters.
The offending picture and tweet have been deleted, along with all the pictures Weiner had up on Yfrog, a photo-sharing service. Over the weekend, Weiner himself tweeted that his Facebook account had been "hacked" and even, in an attempt to laugh it off, wrote: "Touche Prof Moriarity. More Weiner Jokes for all my guests! #Hacked!"
"The weiner gags never get old, I guess," he told Politico on Saturday.
Since the incident, Weiner has continued to tweet from his account.