US congressman resigns over Craigslist pictures


A married US congressman has resigned after a half-naked picture and emails that he sent to a woman he met on the internet were published online.

Chris Lee, a Republican who has represented a northwestern district of New York for the past two years, announced he was quitting just three hours after details of his extramarital liaison emerged.

Mr Lee, 46, who has one child with his wife Michele, said: “I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents.

“I deeply and sincerely apologise to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.”

The picture of Mr Lee was published on Wednesday by Gawker, the New York gossip website. The congressman had sent it to a woman appealing for contact on Craigslist, the classified listings site.

In her Craigslist posting, the woman, who was not named, asked for respondents to come forward and prove that not all men were “toads.” In his reply, Mr Lee wrote: “Hi, Hope I’m not a toad :)”

The congressman had claimed to be a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist and described himself as a “fit fun classy guy”.

Asked by the 34-year-old woman “so do you always send shirtless pics to women from [Craigslist]?”, Mr Lee responded: “Sorry. It’s all I had”. She replied: “I was only joking”.

The pair then exchanged stories about previous dates. It is unclear whether they met. The woman is said to have cut off contact when she searched the internet for Mr Lee and discovered his true identity.

Mr Lee’s staff are said to have initially cast doubt on the veracity of the emails, claiming that the congressman had “been hacked”.

Describing him as “happily married,” a spokesman originally told the website: “The only time he or his wife posted something online was to sell old furniture”.

A special election will be held to appoint Mr Lee’s successor in New York’s 26th District.

By : Jon Swaine

Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

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