Nik Richie is the proprietor of TheDirty, the gossip website that posted dick pics and dirty chats that Anthony Weiner sent to a 22-year-old he met online–after resigning from Congress and amid a year-long apology tour that preceded an announcement that he intended to run for mayor of New York.
It’s the biggest story that TheDirty has ever had–the second biggest, to give you an idea of the material the site typically trafficks in, were naked pictures of disgraced Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean.
Richie says that the young women approached him on three separate occasions, over the course of more than three months, before he took her claim seriously. Richie tells the Voice, “I said, ‘I’m not trying to be mean, but I don’t believe you.'”
The first time she came to him was in April 2013, shortly after the New York Times magazine profile of Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin. The profile upset her. “She told me that what bothered her the most was the fact that he said that once the scandal happened it was done with and he moved on and he got therapy and he was fixed and she looked at it like he was lying,” Richie says. “She was like ‘Wow, I can’t have this guy being a mayor and doing this to other girls.'”
But she didn’t offer any hard proof. “From the get-go she was like, ‘I had a relationship with Anthony Weiner for six months, a sexual, phone sex thing. He had a shoe fetish.’ Basically telling me but not giving me any kind of factual information.”
It wasn’t until last Friday that she said what were, for Richie, the magic words. “The third time she reached out to me was last week around Friday, saying, ‘You know, I have screenshots of conversations.'”
That was something Richie felt he could run with. He compared the pictures with the pictures still circulating online from the scandal in 2011. “I did my research online, I looked at pictures of his legs. I zoomed into his hair on his legs, I looked at his toes and his feet.”
But not just his feet. Richie says, “I looked at the bulge of his pants, because the type of Carlos Danger or wiener or whatever you want to call it–he has a very mushroom-type head, which is very defined, and it’s defined in the bulge. So, I went CSI in a no-homo way and kind of looked at things for what they were from a professional standpoint. I thought, ‘This is him. This is him.'”
Since the news broke, Richie says he has remained in close contact with his source. He would not confirm whether online reports that purport to reveal her identity are true or not, but, he says, “I expect her to come forward in the next day or so.”
The campaign on the other hand has not been in touch with him at all.
Richie says he empathizes with the young woman. “I feel like she got lured in a trap. I feel like this is what he does. Don’t get me wrong, she knew he had a wife and kids and she was sending naked pictures to him. At the same time, Anthony Weiner gave her the confidence, and convinced her every day, [saying] ‘I want to see you naked, make sure you’re wearing heels.’ This is what a sex predator does.”
After Weiner’s press conference, his source told Richie that “she felt vindicated. She liked that Anthony Weiner basically apologized to her. He’s very smart with his words. Everything he did was very subliminal–I just didn’t want her to fall for that trap. There was that glimmer of ‘Wow, he has my back again.'”
More revelations may trickle out in the coming days. “She sent me a ton of stuff, a ton of screenshots, and I only put out the ones that were relevant to the TheDirty.com–the sexual stuff. I didn’t get into the conversations and the e-mails and screenshots that I have because, to be honest, they weren’t as sexy,” Richie says.
He would say, however, that the information she provided suggested her relationship with Weiner was an extended one. “He would constantly check in on her like he was her boyfriend to the point where he would get jealous if she was hanging out with other guys.”
Other women may be coming forward, Richie says, but he hasn’t been able to check submissions to TheDirty. The traffic has been so heavy that the backend of the website crashed.
Richie, for his part, has a theory about the whole Carlos Danger thing. “No one has really said multiple personalities yet, but I feel like he might have one. I think this Carlos Danger character kind of proves that he’s more than one person. Obviously he thinks that he is invincible.”
He adds, “He thinks he’s one person one second and he’s another the next. I really think that what he did was crazy, but he’s a Democrat so what can you do?”
Richie, who says he voted for Romney but doesn’t consider himself a Republican, says, “I have nothing against Anthony Weiner; I’m not trying to say ‘Let’s take this guy down.’ He’s running for mayor of New York. It’s not my market. I’m a West Coast guy. I was born in Jersey, but we’re a West Coast website. We’re not a Gawker.”
This afternoon, Weiner sent an e-mail to supporters. “Before and after announcing my run for Mayor, I repeatedly answered every question about these mistakes. I was clear that these relationships took place over an extended period of time with more than one person. I regret not saying explicitly when these exchanges happened,” he wrote.
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