New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress in 2011 after a sexting scandal, admitted Tuesday that his Internet shenanigans didn’t stop when he stepped down in disgrace.
Hours after a gossip website published raunchy texts and explicit photos it said were from 2012, Weiner held an extraordinary press conference — accompanied by his wife Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton — to apologize and ask voters for a second chance.
"Some of these things happened before my resignation. Some of them happened after," Weiner said without providing any specifics.
And in her first public remarks on the scandal, a clearly nervous Abedin said it took “a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy” to put her marriage back together.
"It was not an easy choice in any way but I made the decision that it was worth staying in this marriage,” she said. “I didn’t know how it would work out but I did know that I wanted to give it a try.
"I love him. I have forgiven him. I believe in him,” she added. “And, as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward.”
Weiner called the press conference after a gossip website called The Dirty published an interview with an anonymous woman who claimed she had an online relationship with him between July and November 2012 — more than a year after his resignation.
"I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have," said Weiner, who has been leading some polls for the Democratic nomination for mayor and balked at calls from opponents to drop out of the race.
"While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me," he said, calling it “problematic to say the least and destructive to say the most."
Weiner had even told NBC 4 New York in April, as he was weighing a mayoral bid, that there could be more revelations coming.
"Some things may come out that are true," he said at the time. "Some things are not. ... Basically, New Yorkers know the story. I did it. I did it with multiple people. These things were wrong and inappropriate, and I never should have been dishonest about it. They played out in the most public and embarrassing way possible. And that’s it."
On Monday, the Dirty claimed that Weiner — who allegedly used the alias Carlos Danger — met the unnamed 22-year-old woman on the social-networking site Formspring in July 2012, sent her lewd photos and had phone sex with her before the relationship "fizzled."
He promised her a job and a condo, said the site, which posted pictures of body parts and graphic messages about sex acts.
"Even post scandal, I thought he was misunderstood. Until I got to know him," the woman was quoted as saying. "I thought I loved him. Pretty pathetic."
Weiner was a six-term congressman representing the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens and Abedin was pregnant when a photo he sent on Twitter — of himself in his underwear — sparked an uproar in the late spring of 2011.
After initially denying it was him in the picture or that he sent it, Weiner eventually came clean, confessing that he had carried on "inappropriate" conversations through Twitter, Facebook, email and the phone with six women over three years.
But less than two years after the stunning fall from grace, Weiner, 48, appeared to be in the midst of a remarkable, and carefully orchestrated, comeback.
Two months after he announced a return from political exile to run for his hometown's biggest job, he was near or at the top in several polls, despite a barrage of pun-filled front-page headlines focusing on his salacious history.
It's unclear if the admission his reckless behavior continued after it was first exposed will hurt his standing with voters, but three mayoral contenders have already urged Weiner to withdraw from the race.
"The sideshows of this election have gotten in the way of the debate we should be having about the future of this city," said Bill de Blasio, one of his Democratic contenders. "And yes, I'm talking about Anthony Weiner. Enough is enough."
Weiner said he had no intention of calling it quits. He’s one of several politicians caught up in sex scandals who are mounting comebacks – including former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who is running for city comptroller five years after a romp with a prostitute was revealed.
With just 49 days to go before the Democratic primary in the mayoral race, Weiner said he was surprised “that more things didn’t come out sooner.”
He apologized several times to Abedin and to anyone he ever sexted, took full responsibility for the sexting and said he didn’t blame anyone for being “curious” about it.