Anthony Weiner admitted to lying about a lewd photo he sent to a college student in Washington state, telling reporters at a press conference in New York that he concocted a phony hacking story in a panic after deleting the public message.
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"Last Friday night I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle," he said, fighting back tears. "Once I realized I had posted to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down and said I had been hacked. I then continued to stick to that story which was a hugely regrettable mistake."
He added: "To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent this. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife Huma and our family and my constituents, friends, supporters and staff."
As for his own future, Weiner pledged to remain in Congress, saying he had not broken any law to his knowledge. "I am not resigning," Weiner said, telling reporters he would try to convince his constituents this was a "personal failing" and did not alter his record.
Weiner said that he traded inappropriate messages and emails with six women over the last three years, including some exchanges after his marriage last year to Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton. Abedin was not present at the press conference. Weiner said he thought the women he exchanged messages with were all of legal age, but he conceded he had no way to know for sure.
"I don't know the exact ages of the women," he said. "And I don't know if you do, I'm going to respect their privacy. But they were all adults -- at least, to the best of my knowledge, they were all adults, and they were engaging in these conversations consensually."