WASHINGTON - New York Rep. Anthony Weiner denied Wednesday he sent a lewd photo from his Twitter account to a 21-year-old woman, trying to calm a media furor that has only increased by the day and wasn't put to rest by the combative lawmaker's latest comments.
Weiner, a Democrat, acknowledged to an MSNBC reporter that he "can't say with certitude" that the photo of a man's bulging underpants wasn't him, but when asked how he could fail to remember having such a picture, he did not directly respond.
The congressman told MSNBC on Wednesday that he did not send the photo and that it was the work of a hacker. He also said he had retained an attorney and hired a private security company to figure out how someone could pull off such a prank.
The photo was posted Friday and sent to a female college student in Seattle. It was quickly deleted, but a frenzy of comment ensued in blogs and cable news outlets.
The congressman, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, was characteristically sharp-tongued Tuesday, refusing to answer reporters' questions and even calling one a "jackass" for interrupting him.
But that changed Wednesday, as it became clear that the story wasn't fading.
Weiner failed in a 2005 bid for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City, but he is widely considered a future contender for the office.
The tweet of the photo first was reported Saturday by BigGovernment.com, a website run by the conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart.