BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It's a breathtaking political bombshell from Capitol Hill. Congressman Chris Lee quickly resigned after his shirtless picture turned up on Gawker.com.
Gawker.com reports that a shirtless photo was sent January 14th to a woman who had placed a message on Craigslist under the "Women Seeking Men" section. It was from a man identifying himself as Chris Lee, a "fun guy," and a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist. The "Craigslist Congressman" is actually 46 and married.
The photo was sent first, and the 34-year-old woman responded, "Are you sure that's not a photo from the JC Penney's ad?" He responded, "lol...no...here...I just took one. I'm relaxing at home."
She responds, "Thanks do you always send shirtless pictures to women from Craigslist?" He responds, "Sorry, it's all I had."
Gawker.com traced the G-mail account to Lee, and then confirmed the photo was taken in Washington, D.C. on January 14.
Gawker.com Editor-in-Chief Remy Stern said, "After sitting with her, after looking at the e-mails, after trying to see if it was possible the photos were doctored or that she had an agenda of some sort, was she looking to discredit him in some way, we came to the conclusion that in fact she was telling a story that was true."
About three hours after the story hit the internet Wednesday afternoon, Congressman Lee resigned saying:
"It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.
"The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately."
"We were stunned that he resigned this quickly. I don't think any of us expected that this was gonna happen. Our first thought: 'You know is this really just the tip of the iceberg, is there more to come? Is he looking to kind of make a quick exit,'" wondered Remy.
It was about this time last year when embarrassing reports surfaced about another WNY Congressman. Democrat Eric Massa resigned a few days after claims he had inappropriate contact with a male staffer, calling it a conspiracy.
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