Rep. Richard Steinberg quits amid text-message scandal
Under Secret Service investigation for sending stalker-like texts to a federal prosecutor, Democratic state Rep. Richard Steinberg abruptly resigned his Miami Beach seat.
“The events of the past week have been difficult for my family, for me and for everyone involved," Steinberg said in a written statement. "After much consultation with my family, my friends and my colleagues in the Democratic caucus—and after some time for quiet, personal reflection—I have decided to resign, effective today, from my position as a member of Florida’s House of Representatives. ”
Steinberg’s resignation came just as the Republican Party of Florida was planning to call for his ouster. "He should have the decency to resign from office," RPOF spokesman Brian Hughes said at the same time Steinberg was drafting his written statement.
Steinberg's decision was a relief for his fellow House Democrats, who already command less than a third of their chamber and could ill-afford this high-profile distraction, which became an internet sensation ever since The Miami Herald broke the story two days ago.
Throughout the summer, Steinberg used a disguised Yahoo! account with the screen name “itsjustme24680” to send text messages to Assistant U.S. Attorney Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos.
Over months, Fernandez-Karavetsos told investigators, the texter sent suggestive messages, calling her “sexxxy mama” and asking about her infant son. Fernandez-Karavetsos, who knew Steinberg through professional services, repeatedly asked the person to stop and identify himself. Though Secret Service is investigating, any possible charges would be brought in state court.
Steinberg's full statement:
"The events of the past week have been difficult for my family, for me and for everyone involved. After much consultation with my family, my friends and my colleagues in the Democratic caucus—and after some time for quiet, personal reflection—I have decided to resign from my position, effective today, as a member of Florida’s House of Representatives.
"With the support of my family, my friends and my colleagues, I will remain home to attend to my and my family’s personal affairs. As I did earlier this week, I want to once again, very directly and sincerely, apologize to everyone I have hurt. I hope that you will respect my and my family’s privacy."