Politics behind embarrassing photos, Virgin Islands delegate says

Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-V.I., is photographed in her Cannon Building office, April 02, 2015.

Story highlights

  • US Virgin Islands delegate says politics is behind a topless photo of her posted on the Internet
  • Del. Stacey Plaskett said a video of her husband wearing make-up was posted online

Cleveland (CNN)The delegate to Congress from the US Virgin Islands is charging that politics are behind the posting on the Internet of a topless photo of her and a potentially embarrassing video that shows her husband wearing make-up.

The US Capitol Police and the FBI are investigating the possible hacking of Del. Stacey Plaskett's iPhone and other personal devices to determine how the images ended up online, her office said.
    "The theft and distribution of these personal images via the Internet marks a new low in Virgin Islands politics. I am shocked and deeply saddened that someone would stoop to such a level as to invade my marriage and the love of my family in an attempt to besmirch me politically," said Plaskett, who faces a primary challenge in two weeks, in a lengthy statement on her House website.
    The images, which were posted on a fake Facebook page and elsewhere, are no longer online and couldn't be viewed by CNN. But an aide to the congresswoman described the video of her husband in make-up as playful and innocent and noted the couple's seven-year-old daughter is in the video.
    The aide declined to explain the circumstances of the topless photo.
    "Private photographs shared between my husband and me, as well as a private playful video of our family, including one of our children, were illegally obtained and disseminated via the Internet. To say my family and I are greatly upset would be a tremendous understatement. As a mother I am outraged that one of my children was exploited in such a way. The theft and dissemination of these images via the Internet is a shockingly disgusting invasion of my family's and my privacy -- not to mention criminal acts in violation of both territorial and federal law," the first term Democrat said in the statement.
    Plaskett, 50, a Georgetown University graduate who served as a senior lawyer in George W. Bush's Justice Department, has no concrete evidence a political rival is responsible, an aide said.
    "The fact that whoever is behind this type of criminal behavior decided to time it just before Virgin Islanders will be voting is not lost on us, while we don't believe it will have whatever effect was intended, it is a sad commentary on the level to which some will stoop," said Plaskett's chief of staff Jerome Murray in the same statement.
    If she wins the Democratic primary against Richard Russell she would face Republican Gordon Ackley in November.
    Ackley posted a statement on Facebook Thursday that did not directly address the incident, but criticized "those entrusted to serve our community engage in a manner that poorly reflects upon the Virgin Islands."
    "Our children and grandchildren should be able to look up to those in public office as role models. It is deeply unfortunate when those entrusted to serve our community engage in a manner that poorly reflects upon the Virgin Islands. I have always tried to conduct myself in an honorable manner and to provide a positive influence for the next generation of Virgin Islanders," he said.