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New half-naked photos: Rep. Weiner calls a news conference

June 06, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli and James Oliphant
  • New York Rep. Anthony Weiner waits for an elevator near his office on Capitol Hill in Washington last week.
New York Rep. Anthony Weiner waits for an elevator near his office on Capitol… (Susan Walsh / AP )

Rep. Anthony Weiner has called an afternoon news conference Monday amid a fresh round of sordid allegations involving the married congressman, including the release of a new set of photos that appear to show him posing shirtless.

The website BigGovernment.com, run by conservative rabble-rouser Andrew Breitbart, reignited the frenzy it started last week involving the New York Democrat in a series of posts Monday.

One photo shows a man's naked torso; the subject's full face is not visible, but pictures in the background include Weiner. The website says a young woman provided the photos, sent to her from what was allegedly Weiner's personal email account. That same account allegedly included other photos that clearly showed Weiner's face.

The BigGoverment.com story says that same email address was used to send the explicit photo of a man's crotch that it had released last week. Weiner, in a series of interviews and press statements, struggled to offer a clear explanation of whether the photo showed his body and how it could have been made public via Twitter. He repeatedly claimed his Twitter account had been hacked but offered no evidence to support the assertion.

Also Monday, the website Radar Online reported that another woman claims to have "200 sexually explicit messages from Weiner from a Facebook account the Democratic politician no longer uses." They say the woman who provided the information is a Democratic campaign volunteer who never met the congressman.

Weiner's office has not responded to a request for comment. He will address the media at 4 p.m. EDT from a midtown Manhattan hotel.

The congressman is serving his seventh term representing New York's 9th District, which includes portions of Brooklyn and Queens in New York City. A 2005 candidate for mayor, Weiner was widely expected to run again in 2013 when Michael Bloomberg's term expired.

The alleged photo of a shirtless Weiner evoked comparisons to ex-Rep. Christopher Lee, a Republican who earlier this year resigned his western New York seat after similar photos surfaced on Craigslist.

Many of Weiner's supporters pointed to Breitbart when news of the Twitter photo first broke more than week ago, accusing the conservative provocateur of somehow setting up Weiner for a scandal.

Breitbart's heavily edited video in 2009 of remarks made by Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod, which accused of her of using race as a factor in her government job, resulted in Sherrod’s resignation. Once the full video refuting that allegation came to light, Sherrod received an apology from the Obama administration. She later sued Breitbart.

Breitbart has denied any involvement in Weiner's episode.

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