Attorney Gloria Allred, right, comforts Ginger Lee at a news conference… (D Dipasupil, Getty Images )
Reporting from New York — As Rep. Anthony Weiner remained in hiding and on leave from his job, a self-described dancer and former porn actress who was part of his sexting scandal emerged from seclusion Wednesday and said the congressman had pressed her to lie about his online antics.
Ginger Lee read a statement describing an electronically driven relationship that lasted from March until 10 days ago, when Weiner admitted sending sexually charged messages and graphic photographs to various women. "I did not sext Anthony Weiner," said Lee, standing beside celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred.
Lee said that each time Weiner tried to steer her into prurient conversations, she "did not reciprocate." On June 2, Lee said, Weiner phoned her as speculation swirled about the origins of a graphic photograph sent from his Twitter account and about his online activities, including his following of Ginger Lee on Twitter.
"He told me if neither of us said anything over the weekend, the story would calm down and die," said Lee, who described the "nightmare" of being directed by Weiner to cover up for him by issuing a statement denying the existence of racy emails, and then watching as he lied to the press and public.
There was no response from Weiner's spokeswoman to Lee's allegations.
On June 6, after variously claiming his Twitter account had been hacked or that he had been the victim of an online hoax, Weiner admitted he had sent the photo and had carried on Internet-based relationships with several women.
Allred said Lee called the news conference because she needed to come out of seclusion, clear up misconceptions about her behavior, "and resume her career as a feature dancer."
"What's a feature dancer?" asked one of scores of journalists packed into an ornate, overheated room at a midtown Manhattan club. "A feature dancer is a dancer who is featured," Allred replied after a brief pause. "She dances in clubs."
Lee did not directly respond to questions, instead deferring to Allred, who at one point picked up a stack of papers she said included printouts of some of the estimated 100 emails exchanged between Weiner and Lee. She read aloud from three sent by Weiner, all referring to his "package."
In one, Weiner indicated that he and Lee both had fans who found them sexually irresistible. While Lee only had to put up with gawkers, though, "I get dragged into long … sessions at the corner bodega," Weiner wrote, according to Allred.
"She still cares deeply about Planned Parenthood and healthcare," Allred said of Lee. "She will no longer support Congressman Weiner."