June 6, 2011

Rep. Anthony Weiner is set to to hold a 4 p.m. news conference on Monday after two Web sites run by conservative activists posted stories claiming the lawmaker sent a shirtless photo of himself to a young woman.

The photo, which has not been independently verified by Weiner or other news organizations, could raise a new problem for the New York Democrat, who gave a muddled account last week in explaining how a photo of a man’s crotch was sent under his Twitter account to a young woman in Washington state.

The new photo shows the bare torso and part of the face of a man resembling Weiner. The websites BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com, both of which are run by conservative Andrew Breitbart, posted the photo this morning and said they came from a young woman who got them from Weiner. The websites didn’t identify the woman.

The photograph is reminiscent of one sent by Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) to a young woman in the Washington area via the “personals” category on Craigslist.com. Lee resigned shortly after the photo became public.

Breitbart was widely criticized last year after BigGovernment posted a video of a speech by a Shirley Sherrod, a Department of Agriculture official, in which Sherrod appeared to admit that she had discriminated against a white farmer when she worked for Georgia’s agriculture department. In fact, in the full speech, Sherrod condemned discrimination and recounted how she and the farmer had become friends, all of which was edited out by BigGovernment.

Weiner last week said that he was the victim of a prank, and that his Twitter account had been hacked, after a woman in Washington state received a photo of man in his underwear from his account. But he also said that he could not say “with certitude” if the man in the photo was him.

BigGovernment said the latest photo was allegedly sent to the young woman on May 20 from a Yahoo.com email address that the woman alleges was an alternate alias for Weiner.

In the background of the photograph of the shirtless man there are several framed photos that appear to be of Weiner, including one with former President Bill Clinton, according to BigGovernment.

Breitbart says the photos he has posted were provided by an unidentified woman who has a “cache of intimate photos and online communications” between her and Weiner, who is married to Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Paul Farhi is The Washington Post's media reporter.
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