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Ex-porn actress alleges Anthony Weiner told her to cover up online activities

June 15, 2011|By Tina Susman | Los Angeles Times

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 activities.

Ginger Lee read a statement describing an electronically driven relationship that lasted from March 2011 until two weeks 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.

Photos: A decade of D.C. sex scandals

In a gentle Southern accent, Lee said 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 what she said was 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 media and public.

On June 6, after initially claiming his Twitter account had been hacked or that he had been the victim of an online hoax, Weiner admitted he had sent the picture 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.”

It was one of several bizarre moments in the news conference, which began with Allred and Lee descending silently down a spiral staircase of the Friars Club and embracing each other before Allred began speaking.

Allred, whose clients have included the family of Nicole Brown Simpson and Amber Frey, the mistress of convicted killer Scott Peterson, described Lee as a onetime porn actress, aspiring real estate agent, and political geek who was drawn to Weiner because of his views on healthcare and Planned Parenthood.

She also said Lee was going back to work Wednesday, though she refused to say where she worked or what her client’s true name is.

“Ginger Lee is the name we’re using,” said Allred, who rejected suggestions that Lee had encouraged Weiner’s come-ons by gushing about the congressman on her blog and even posting one comment that she wanted to have “sexual relations” with him.

Lee did not directly respond to questions, instead deferring to Allred, who at one point picked up a stack of papers that 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.”

That puts Lee in lofty company. A host of powerful Democrats and Republicans have either called on Weiner to resign or questioned his ability to be an effective representative in the midst of the scandal. President Obama on Tuesday said that if he were in the same situation, he would quit.

Weiner, a Democrat whose district encompasses parts of Brooklyn and Queens, was granted a two-week leave of absence Monday after his spokesman said he wanted to “seek professional treatment” to become a “better husband and healthier person.”

Exactly what kind of treatment he is receiving, and where, are unclear.

There was no response from Weiner’s spokeswoman to Lee’s allegations.

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