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Weiner to resign over sexting scandal

Photo by Vanessa Araiza

Photo by Vanessa Araiza

WASHINGTON -- New York Rep. Anthony Weiner has decided to resign his seat in Congress after a two-week scandal spawned by lewd and even X-rated photos the New York lawmaker took of himself and sent online to numerous women, relieved Democratic officials said Thursday.

A formal announcement was expected later in the day.

Weiner, 46, has been at a treatment facility at an undisclosed location since last weekend, and has not been seen in public since telling reporters last Saturday he intended to return to work.

One official said Weiner telephoned House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steve Israel of New York, the head of the party campaign committee, on Wednesday evening to tell them of his plans to quit. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the private nature of the conversations.

Weiner's decision to give up his House seat marks the end of a scandal without the sex -- an event that resulted from the brash New Yorker's use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

He at first denied having sent any inappropriate photos, then recanted in a remarkable news conference 10 days ago at which he admitted having exchanged inappropriate messages with several women.

His confession triggered a tabloid-style frenzy in print and online that only grew more pronounced a few days later when an X-rated photo of the 46-year-old lawmaker surfaced on a website.

After initially calling for a House ethics committee investigation, Pelosi dramatically ramped up the pressure on Saturday when she joined with Israel and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, leader of the Democratic National Committee, in calling on Weiner to step down.

Within hours, Weiner disclosed his plans to enter treatment, and Pelosi's aides made it known that did not negate her demand for a resignation.

Several officials have said in recent days that Weiner was reluctant to make any decision about his career without speaking with his wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who had been overseas since shortly after the scandal broke.

The trip ended Tuesday night.

Abedin is pregnant with the couple's first child.