Florida lawmaker Richard Steinberg is under investigation for text messages. The U.S. Secret Service traced the screen name to Steinberg of Miami Beach. The 39-year-old lawyer, who is married with a daughter, is now under investigation, suspected of stalking assistant U.S. Attorney Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos, according to a search warrant filed in January in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.
State Rep. Richard Steinberg officially resigned Friday as a result of a text messages that he sent a married assistant U.S. attorney.
"The events of the past week have been difficult for my family, for me and for everyone involved," Steinberg, D-Miami Beach, said in a 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 from my position, effective today, as a member of Florida’s House of Representatives."
Steinberg began anonymously texting Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos last August through Yahoo!. He called her "sexxxxy mama" and asked her about motherhood.
When Fernandez-Karavetsos asked the sender who he was, Steinberg responded, "Considering we’re both married parents, probably best I not answer that at this point."
The U.S. Secret Service traced the Yahoo! screen name to Steinberg, according to a search warrant filed in January.
"As I did earlier this week, I want to once again, very directly and sincerely, apologize to everyone I have hurt," Steinberg said. "I hope that you will respect my and my family’s privacy."
Steinberg's resignation came just before the Republican Party of Florida planned to call for his ousting, the Miami Herald reported. Democrats were also relieved and felt that the scandal was bringing negative attention to the party, the newspaper reported.
Earlier this week, Steinberg released a statement apologizing to his family and Fernandez-Karavetsos' husband.
"I acknowledge and take full responsibility for sending inappropriate and unsolicited messages to Mrs. Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos, whom I have known for more than 15 years. I deeply regret and wholeheartedly apologize for the disrespect that I have shown her, her husband and my constituents. Most importantly, words cannot express how sorry I am to my wife, for the disrespect I have shown her, and my entire family," the statement said.
Steinberg has voted on five occasions to increase penalties on stalkers who use texting, according to the Herald.