Internet Law

After Stalking Probe IDs Him, Attorney Lawmaker Admits Sending Texts to Married Federal Prosecutor

Updated: A Florida state lawmaker may have thought he was unlikely to be identified as the author of a series of harassing and suggestive text messages to a married Miami federal prosecutor, because he had used software that disguised the phone number of the device from which he was sending them.

However, after a Secret Service investigation linked state House Rep. Richard L. Steinberg, 39, to the messages, he admitted sending them and apologized to all concerned, including assistant U.S. Attorney Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos, 37, her husband George Karavetsos, 39, a federal prosecutor in charge of the narcotics section of the Miami office, and Steinberg’s own wife, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Steinberg has since resigned from office, effective immediately, as a subsequent South Florida Sun-Sentinel article reports.

Steinberg, who is also a lawyer, and Fernandez-Karavetsos had known each other socially for 15 years, according to the Palm Beach Post, but she had no idea who was behind the texts, which began in August with the message “Sexxxy mama?” and caused her significant emotional distress. The sender even knew the name of the prosecutor’s baby son.

Despite her demands that the sender identify himself and stop sending the messages, he continued doing so, and Fernandez-Karavetsos went to federal authorities for help.

A search warrant filed last month in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, in order to get permission to access what turned out to be Steinberg’s records in a Yahoo messaging account registered in 2009 as “Mr. Just Me” details the investigation and said Steinberg was suspected of first-degree misdemeanor stalking. However, he has not been criminally charged.

The prosecutor and her husband declined to comment when contacted by the Post.

A Miami Herald article provides additional details.

Updated on Feb. 24 to include news of Steinberg’s resignation and link to Miami Herald article.

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