WASHINGTON — The 24-year-old Texas coed Congressman Steve Cohen inadvertently tweeted to the world during and after the State of the Union address this week is his daughter, he revealed Thursday night.
Victoria Elizabeth Brink, who used her Twitter account to write that she was seeing Cohen in the House Chamber on television Tuesday night, is also the daughter of a Texas criminal defense lawyer, Cynthia White Sinatra, who ran for Congress in 2006 against Ron Paul.
The Memphis Democrat publicly acknowledged his daughter for the first time after receiving permission from her family.
"What's going on is that Victoria was able to talk to the gentleman who thought he was her father for these years and tell him what she has known for four years and I've known for three – that I was her father," Cohen said from his office.
"That allowed me to let the news media know that the woman I had texted and expressed my love for over several years is my daughter," he said. "That is not only entirely appropriate but the right thing to have done."
Cohen said the "salacious bloggers" and others in the news media "that immediately assumed that it was something different have subjected her and me and others to a lot of pain."
"It's put us through a very difficult couple of days. And she's a beautiful, young 24-year-old girl who has not been put through the grist of gossip and innuendo and influence, and it was painful for me to witness it and to know that it was because she had reached out to me to express her joy at seeing me at the State of the Union," he said.
Cohen said he was "joyous" that she was taking an interest in the speech "because I'm trying to get her acclimated to my world and learn about my world."
Even after realizing he had sent a publicly accessible tweet, then quickly deleted it, Cohen said he felt he needed to send another Wednesday morning "to make sure she knew – because our relationship has been developing over these three years – and I just wanted to assure her of my unconditional love at every opportunity I can."
Cohen's tweets were captured by the watchdog group The Sunlight Foundation's "Politiwoops" service, which reviews congressional Twitter messages. Since the story broke, the blogosphere has been full of commentary on what some suspected was another Twitter scandal like the one that brought down New York Democrat Anthony Weiner in 2011. Some of the more offensive commentary suggested the 63-year-old Cohen, a longtime bachelor, had been caught having an affair with a swimsuit model.
Cohen declined to describe his relationship with Sinatra, saying only, "her mother and I have been friends for a long time." There had been a hiatus, "but we renewed our friendship when I found out she was the mother of my child."
Cohen said Brink, with her mother, visited The Peabody in January and he said he took them to see Graceland, the National Civil Rights Musuem, Stax, and "show her Memphis and let her know part of the world that I know which I want to be able to share." He said he took his daughter to the White House Christmas reception for members of Congress in 2011.
According to her law firm web page, Sinatra, 60, is a criminal defense lawyer who was married to Frank Sinatra Jr., the son of the famous "Old Blue Eyes." She has represented criminal defendants before the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, including Dragan Jokic, a Bosnia Serb accused of genocide, murder and torture in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
Brink studied at Texas State University at San Marcos. She did not immediately respond to requests for an interview.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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