- Ethan Berkowitz, the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, late Tuesday announced he would resign from office effective October 23 citing "unacceptable personal conduct" involving his prior relationship with a local journalist.
- On Friday, Maria Athens, a local television reporter, said in a video posted to her Facebook page that she had evidence that Berkowitz had published photos of "his male genitalia posted on an underage girls website." Athens was barred from the station's newsroom the same day.
- Athens was also arrested later Friday after she returned to the studio. She was charged with "assault, criminal mischief, and disorderly conduct."
- The Federal Bureau of Investigations in Anchorage said "there was no immediate evidence to support a violation of federal law" by Berkowitz.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
Ethan Berkowitz, the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, resigned on Tuesday after he admitted to having a previous relationship with a local news anchor who days earlier had claimed she had evidence Berkowitz had posted nude photos on a website for "underage girls."
"It is with profound sadness and humility that I resign as mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage," Berkowitz said in a statement to the news media on Tuesday that was delivered by his chief of staff, Jason Bockenstedt, at a meeting to determine whether to extend measures COVID-19 pandemic according to Alaska Public Media.
"My resignation results from unacceptable personal conduct that has compromised my ability to perform my duties with the focus and trust that is required," he said.
In a statement Monday, Berkowitz, 58, had admitted that he had a prior relationship with Maria Athens, 41, a local reporter and anchor at the Anchorage Fox and ABC-affiliated stations.
"I apologize to the people of Anchorage for a major lapse in judgment I made several years ago when I had a consensual, inappropriate messaging relationship with reporter Maria Athens," he said in a statement the day before he announced his resignation.
Days earlier, on Friday, Athens said in a video posted to her Facebook page that urged viewers to tune into the local news broadcast later that evening, claiming she had damaging information to report about the city's mayor.
"According to reliable sources, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has his male genitalia posted on an underage girls website," she said in the video posted on October 9, which remains on her public Facebook page.
"You heard it here first," she added. Athens added another post to her Facebook page on Friday which showed the naked backside of the Anchorage mayor. She captioned the photo "PROOF," adding "#TakeThatHaters."
In a statement on Friday, Berkowitz denied allegations leveled by Athens, calling them "slanderous" and the "product of someone who is hostile and unwell."
Athens did not respond to Insider's request for comment on Wednesday. The Anchorage field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced in a statement on Tuesday that it found "no immediate evidence to support a violation of federal law" by Berkowitz.
"The FBI Anchorage Field Office coordinated with the Anchorage Police Department in the early stages of their investigation into allegations made against Mayor Berkowitz, concerning inappropriate photos on an underage website and threatening communications he received," said the FBI in a Tuesday statement. "Based on that initial investigation, there was no immediate evidence to support a violation of federal law; however, the FBI Anchorage Field Office continues to monitor the situation."
According to a report from the Anchorage Daily News, Athens was barred from the television station on Friday and was later arrested for trespassing in the studio after she returned. Athens reportedly fought with the station's manager, with whom she was also romantically involved, according to court documents cited in the Anchorage Daily News report.
Athens was charged with assault, criminal mischief, and disorderly conduct. She was released after she posted bail on Sunday, the Anchorage Daily News reported. At a Saturday court appearance, Athens repeatedly interrupted the proceedings and claimed she had to get back to work before Monday, according to the report. She also claimed to have pancreatitis.
As The Washington Post reported, Berkowitz, a Democrat, became mayor of Anchorage in 2015 and previously spent a decade serving as a state representative from 1997 to 2007. Prior to his resignation, which is effective October 23, Berkowitz was serving his final term.
Source: Read Full Article