NEW YORK (RNN) - Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-NY, has decided to step down from Congress in the wake of increasing political pressure over a sexting scandal.
Saying he cannot continue in office amid the intense controversy surrounding sexually explicit messages he sent online to several women.
The 46-year-old Democrat made the announcement in his home district in New York after two weeks of fighting off pressure to step aside. Weiner apologized again for "the embarrassment that I have caused" and said he hoped to continue to fight for the causes dear to his constituents.
His wife, Huma Abedin, was not with him for the announcement.
He's been on leave from the House and hasn't been seen in public since the weekend, after admitting last week that he'd sent lewd photos to several women online, and engaged inappropriate messages with them -- and that he had lied about it.
Once he submits his resignation, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has the authority to call a special election to fill the seat.
Weiner's political problems began last month when a website run by a conservative commentator posted a lewd photo and said it had been sent from Weiner's Twitter account to a Seattle woman.
Initially, Weiner lied, saying his account had been hacked. But he didn't report the incident to law enforcement. And he told an interviewer that he couldn't say `with certitude" that he wasn't the man in the photo.
"It is my understanding that later in the day he will be having a press conference," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi confirmed in a Thursday morning press conference.
The former speaker of the house refused to answer reporters' questions about the disgraced congressman, however, choosing instead to speak about job creation.
The news of Weiner's resignation comes the morning after his wife, Huma Abedin, returned from an overseas trip with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Abedin is reported to be pregnant with the couple's first child.
According to The New York Times, Weiner, 46, decided to step down "after having long discussions with his wife."
Weiner was facing the threat of being stripped of his committee assignments by Democratic congressional leadership Thursday, the Times reported.
By stepping down, Weiner also will avoid the threat of ethics charges and sanctions from Congress, which had already begun investigating whether he had violated House rules, the Times said.
Even President Barack Obama weighed in on the sexting scandal that has rocked the nation for the last three weeks.
"I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign," Obama said Monday during an appearance on NBC's Today.
News of Weiner's inappropriate online conduct first broke after the congressman mistakenly posted a photo of his bulging underwear on his Twitter account. He quickly removed the offending photo, and defiantly claimed for 10 days his account had been hacked.
A tearful Weiner eventually admitted on June 6 to a history of sending inappropriate messages and images to women during the past three years. The congressman said he had never met or had physical relationships with any of the women.
Since then, it has come to light that Weiner communicated with a 17-year-old girl in Delaware, but her parents and law enforcement have said the correspondence was not inappropriate.
Weiner has continued to say he has not broken any laws, performing the communications mostly on his home computer rather than on government-issued equipment.
Just this week, TMZ published photos Weiner took of himself at the House gym and later sent to at least one woman. It is not known how many photos Weiner may have sent of himself.
On Sunday, Weiner's staff indicated that the congressman had entered an undisclosed treatment facility.
Risa Heller, the congressman's spokeswoman, said in a statement that Weiner had taken a temporarily leave from Congress "to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person."
Weiner says his online behavior stems from personal indiscretions, not from any type of substance abuse that may have clouded his judgment.
"I'm not making any excuses for my behavior. I don't do drugs. I wasn't drinking. That wasn't the cause of this," Weiner said at a press conference held in a Manhattan hotel. "This was me doing a dumb thing, and doing it repeatedly and then lying about it."
While he called his conduct "deeply regrettable," Weiner has previously been unyielding in his resolve to keep his House seat.
"I am not resigning," he said on June 6. "I have made it clear I accept responsibility for this. And people who draw conclusions about me are free to."