The headline on gawker.com was posted at 2:33 p.m. It read "The Craiglist Congressman." It featured what appeared to be a shirtless camera phone picture of the Republican congressman posing in a mirror.
The report detailed an email encounter that began last month on the website Craigslist. A woman said Lee responded to her ad claiming he was a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist.
He allegedly wrote "I'm a very fit fun classy guy. Live in Cap Hill area. 6ft 190lbs blond/blue. 39.. lobbyist. I promise not to disappoint."
Lee's office responded to gawker claiming the congressman's email had been hacked and that Lee sent his staff a notice on January 21st about the security breach, but the alleged messages between Lee and the woman happened a week earlier.
The story quickly went viral - picked up on twitter and facebook. Then major media outlets started pressing Lee for a statment on the story. Fox News caught Lee walking to his car - the congressman said, "I have to work this out with my wife."
But a short time later - it all came crashing down. At 5:51 p.m., just 3 hours and 18 minutes after the story broke --Congressman Chris Lee resigned.
In a statement he said, ""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."
Shortly after that statement was released the clerk in the U.S. House made it official
"I hereby give notice of my resignation from the United States House of Representatives effective 5 pm Eastern Standard Time, Wednesday. Feb. 9, 2011. Attached is the letter I submitted to Governor Andrew Cuomo. Signed sincerely, Christopher J. Lee, member of Congress," the clerk read off the statement.
Representative Chris Lee has resigned "effective immediately" following accusations that he sent a shirtless picture to a woman on craigslist.
Here is a statement on Chris Lee's website posted moments ago:
"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."It all started earlier this afternoon when the website Gawker reported that Lee sent a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist.
A spokesperson for the Republican Congressman initially said they believe his email had been hacked. They provided an email Lee sent to his staff about the security breach on January 21st. But Gawker showed a number of messages reportedly between Lee and the woman on January 14th. Lee reportedly claimed he was a divorced lobbyist