US Congressman Anthony Weiner admits to having inappropriate online relationships with women and to sending a photo of his crotch to one on Twitter - but says he will not resign.
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Mr Weiner, a New York Democrat, admitted having inappropriate internet and phone conversations with six women - but he said none of them had developed into a physical relationship.
Last week, the Congressman was accused of tweeting a waist-down photograph to a college student he follows, a scandal dubbed #weinergate by Twitter users. He denied sending the snap, saying it "seems like a prank to make fun of my name. When you are named Weiner that happens a lot."
However, Mr Weiner - a rising star in the Democratic party, who was expected to run for mayor of New York City in 2013 - has now admitted sending the picture, as well as having other online relationships.
"I'm deeply regretting what I have done and I'm not resigning," he tearfully told a news conference on Monday.
The picture was of me, and I sent it. US Congressman Anthony Weiner
"I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I had posted it to Twitter, I panicked. I took it down and said that I had been hacked. I then continued to stick to that story, which was a hugely regrettable mistake," he said.
"The picture was of me, and I sent it."
Mr Weiner said his affairs were conducted on Twitter, Facebook, email and by phone with women he met online, and he stressed he did not have sex with any of the women.
He said his actions were "very dumb", but said he would not be splitting up from his wife Huma Abedin, a long-time aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
'He can forget about mayor'
It is not clear whether Congress will take any action against Mr Weiner, who said he broke no laws and mostly used his home computer.
It proves the rule that nothing is too stupid for American politicians. Professor Doug Muzzio
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said: "I am calling for an Ethics Committee investigation to determine whether any official resources were used or any other violation of House rules occurred."
US political pundits suggested the scandal had ended Mr Weiner's hopes of running for mayor of New York. Doug Muzzio, Professor of Public Affairs at Baruch College in New York, said: "Certainly he can forget about mayor."
He added that Mr Weiner may not have to resign now, but would face problems if he went for re-election in 2012.
"It proves the rule that nothing is too stupid for American politicians. You think you've seen everything but in a sense, you ain't seen nothing yet," he said.
02 June 2011