NEW YORK A lewd photograph of a crotch sent from the Twitter account of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner is just "a distraction" perpetrated by a hacker, his spokesman said Sunday.
Dave Arnold told The Associated Press in an email that the tweet, directed at a woman, was "a distraction" from the married New York Democrat's "important work representing his constituents."
"Anthony's accounts were obviously hacked," Arnold said. "He doesn't know the person named by the hacker, and we will be consulting on what steps to take next."
The photo showed a man's bulging underpants.
It first was reported Saturday by BigGovernment.com, a website run by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart. The site said the photo was tweeted to a Seattle woman.
The photo was quickly deleted.
For her part, the woman who allegedly received the photos also said Rep. Weiner was almost certainly not responsible. In a statement, Genette Cordova said "The account that these tweets were sent from was familiar to me; this person had harassed me many times after the Congressman followed me on Twitter a month or so ago. Since I had dealt with this person and his cohorts before I assumed that the tweet and the picture were their latest attempts at defaming the Congressman and harassing his supporters.
After being called everything from "Anthony Weiner's 21-year-old coed mistress" to the person responsible for the hack, and after her friends and family were also allegedly harassed, Cordova said: "All of this is so outlandish that I don't know whether to be pissed off or amused, quite frankly."
Weiner later joked about the account hacking on Twitter, asking whether his kitchen blender would be next to "attack" him.
Weiner represents New York's 9th District, which covers parts of Queens and Brooklyn, where he was born and raised. He failed in a 2005 bid for the Democratic nomination for mayor of the city but still is widely considered a contender for the office.
He has worked on issues including public housing, homeland security and energy for his constituents.
Weiner, 46, is married to Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.