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House Democratic leaders are planning to meet Thursday to consider the next step in handling the scandal embroiling Rep. Anthony Weiner, who has resisted calls to resign in the midst of a sexting scandal that has been a major distraction for his party for nearly three weeks.
The scandal got even stranger Wednesday, when a former porn actress who exchanged emails and messages with Weiner said he asked her to lie about their interactions
Weiner has acknowledged sending sexually explicit messages and suggestive photos of himself to various women and then lying about it. The New York congressman has taken a two-week leave from the House and is reported to be in treatment at an undisclosed location.
He has told friends he wanted to speak with his pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, before deciding whether to resign. She returned to Washington early Wednesday from a trip to Africa with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
A House aide described the leadership meeting set for Thursday on condition of anonymity because officials had not authorized a public discussion of their plans.
House Democratic leaders could decide to strip Weiner of his assignments on the Energy and Commerce committees. The House Ethics Committee on Monday began a preliminary inquiry that could bloom into a full investigation if Weiner ignores calls to resign.
Nightclub dancer Ginger Lee was the latest in a series of women who said they received sexually charged messages from the 46-year-old congressman. Lee, from La Vergne, Tenn., said she and Weiner exchanged about 100 emails between March and June, after Lee posted a supportive statement about the congressman on her blog. He then contacted her on Twitter, Lee said. They mostly discussed politics, but he would often turn the conversation to sex, she said.
“`I have wardrobe demands too. I need to highlight my package,'” Weiner wrote Lee, in an email read aloud at the news conference by Lee’s attorney, Gloria Allred.
Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press