Weiner hires lawyer after Twitter incident

Rep. Anthony Weiner, ES, 12.16.09 CBS

Updated at 2 p.m. with video and new quotes

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) is chalking up the lewd photo sent from his Twitter account over the weekend as a prank, but he has nonetheless hired a lawyer to explore pressing civil or criminal charges in the incident.

On Friday night, a close-up picture of a man's underwear was tweeted from Weiner's account. The picture was visible to all of the congressman's tens of thousands of followers but addressed specifically to a Seattle college student.

Weiner's spokesman told the New York Daily News the congressman is "loathe" to treat the incident as anything more than the work of a mischievous hacker, but is still "relying on professional advice."

When approached by CBS News today, Weiner would not say why he chose to hire a lawyer rather than let law enforcement handle it. Nor would he say why he was following a college student on Twitter, or whether or not the picture was of him. Weiner said he had spent the weekend giving answers and wanted to put the matter to rest.

"I'm not going to talk about this anymore," he said. "I think that if I was giving a speech to 45,000 people and someone stood up and heckled in the back, I wouldn't spend three days talking to him. I'm going to get back to the conversation I care about." (Watch Weiner's response in the video above.)

"We have a debt limit vote tonight that really puts the economy of our country in peril," Weiner continued. "We have a Supreme Court justice who I believe is conflicted and is not recusing himself from the health care vote. We have a lot of challenges to face, and I'm going to get back to work today."

Gennette Cordova, the college student who received the photo, told the Daily News she's never met Weiner, nor has she ever been to Washington or to New York. She said she believed the congressman did not send the picture himself.

Soon after the incident, Weiner released a tweet, in his typical, sharp-tongued fashion, playing down the hack: "Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next? #TheToasterIsVeryLoyal"

In a statement to Politico, the congressman took a more serious tack: "At a time when the GOP is playing games with the debt limit, a member of the Supreme Court is refusing to recuse himself from matters he has a financial interest in, and middle class incomes are stagnant, many want to change the subject," he said. "I don't. This was a prank, and a silly one. I'm focused on my work."

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.