Florida Lawmaker Under Investigation for Creepy Texts - NBC 6 South Florida

Florida Lawmaker Under Investigation for Creepy Texts

House Rep. Richard Steinberg may be in trouble for stalking, court records say

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    Florida Lawmaker Under Investigation for Creepy Texts

    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. (Published Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012)

    The text messages originated from a Yahoo! screen name "itsjustme24680," and were sent to a married, assistant U.S attorney, Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos.

    She was able to save some of the messages on her phone to show investigators, court records say. The series of messages began with this conversation:

    itsjustme24680: sexxxxy mama? :)

    Fernandez-Karavetsos: How do i know you?

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    itsjustme24680: Hi...sorry, I missed you... what's up?

    Fernandez-Karavetsos: who is this?

    itsjustme24680: you dont remember?

    The U.S. Secret Service traced the screen name to Florida House Representative Richard Steinberg (D-Miami Beach). The 39-year-old lawyer, who is married with a daughter, is now under investigation, suspected of stalking Fernandez-Karavetsos, according to a search warrant filed in January in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, which was first obtained by The Miami Herald.

    According to the search warrant affidavit, she told investigators that she knows Steinberg "in a professional, non-intimate way," and that the messages caused her "substantial emotional distress."

    Steinberg's spokesman Christian Ulvert provided NBC 6 with an email statement from his client.

     "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.

    Fernandez-Karavetsos couldn't be reached for comment about the series of text messages that were sent between August and October 2011.

    Another conversation reads:

    itsjustme24680: Good morning!

    Fernandez-Karavetsos replies, "Leave me alone."

    itsjustme24680: is that a way to treat a friend? lol
    itsjustme24680: how's motherhood?
    itsjustme24680: getting any sleep?
    itsjustme24680: Georgie doing well?

    This is the last time I'm going to ask, you've been texting long enough - who is this?

    itsjustme24680: considering we're both married parents, probably best I not answer that at this point...

    itsjustme24680: Marlene?

    Miami Beach Detectives have now requested access from Yahoo! to email messages from Steinberg's account. The investigation is ongoing.