Rep. Anthony Weiner encouraged a porn star to lie about their on-line relationship and offered her the help of his public relations team, according to a report on Tuesday.
Weiner sent emails to former X-rated performer Ginger Lee – to whom he’d previously acknowledged sending innocuous messages via Twitter – coaching her to deny that they had been communicating, reported TMZ, which obtained the messages and says the two had exchanged “scores of sexual emails over a long period of time.”
“The key is to have a short, thought out statement that tackles the top line questions and then refer people back to it,” Weiner is alleged to have written in a June 1 email. “Have a couple of iterations of: ‘This is silly. Like so many others, I follow Rep. Weiner on Twitter. I don’t know him and have never met him. He briefly followed me and sent me a dm (direct message) saying thank you for the follow. That’s it.’”
The next day, Weiner asked Lee if she needed assistance in crafting a message to put out to the press and public. “Do you need to talk to a professional PR type person to give u advice? I can have someone on my team call. (Yeah, my team is doing great. Ugh).”
It’s not clear, though, if Weiner was referring to having someone on his congressional staff help her – which might violate House rules – or wanted a private sector PR consultant to help Lee handle press inquiries. House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that she has ordered an ethics probe of Weiner and the New York Democrat said he would cooperate.
At his Monday press conference, Weiner said he had not asked Gennette Cordova, the Seattle college student to whom his inadvertent public tweet was directed, to lie. “At no time did I or any member of my staff try to do anything to cover anything up,” he said. “There was no coaching of any sort going on.” (See also: POLITICO Arena on Andrew Breitbart)
He didn’t answer the same question about Lee, though he did say that his staff did not ask any women to lie for him.
But, according to the emails obtained by TMZ, Weiner did ask Lee to lie, on June 2 offering her a statement to provide to reporters: “I have nothing to do with the situation involving Rep Weiner. I follow his twitter feed. And for a brief time he followed me. Much has been made of the fact that I have posted about my admiration for Rep Weiner and his politics. All I can say about that is that I’m a fan of his. Rep. Weiner sent me one short direct message thanking me for following him. I have never met Rep. Weiner and he has never sent me anything innappopriate (sic) …”