May 8, 2008 -- A congressman from New York has admitted to fathering a child in an extramarital affair three years ago.
Under mounting scrutiny, Staten Island Rep. Vito Fossella, who has three children with his wife, released a statement this morning naming the child's mother and confirming the existence of their 3-year-old daughter.
"I have had a relationship with Laura Fay, with whom I have a 3-year-old daughter," Fossella, 43, he said in the statement.
Fossella, a conservative Republican, acknowledged that "imperfections" in his personal life have "caused pain to the people I love." He declined to address his political future -- a decision he said was "furthest" from his mind.
"Over the coming weeks and months, I will to continue to do my job and I will work hard to heal the deep wounds I have caused," he said in the statement.
Fossella was arrested in the early hours of May 1 and charged with driving while intoxicated as a first offense, which under Virginia state law requires a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher.
Court records show that Fossella had a blood-alcohol level of 0.17 percent. If convicted, he will have to serve a mandatory five days in jail due to a minimum that kicks in for levels above 0.15 percent.
"Last night, I made an error in judgment," Fossella said in a statement the day after his DWI arrest. "As a parent, I know that taking even one drink of alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car is wrong."
After his arrest, Fossella said he was pulled over on his way home from a dinner with New Yorkers in Washington to celebrate the Super Bowl champion Giants' visit with President Bush at the White House.
Criticism of Fossella, who was already facing a re-election challenge in November, began to gain momentum after details of the arrest were made public. When he was pulled over, Fossella reportedly told police that he was going to visit his sick daughter.
The response raised eyebrows because Fossella's wife, Mary Pat Fossella, and their children live in his New York district.
Fay, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force who worked as a liaison with Congress, picked Fossella up from the police station at 7:39 a.m. May 2, more than seven hours after his arrest. Asked why Fay would be the one to scoop up the Fossella, aides described her as a "good friend" of the congressman.
Fossella, a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, is the only elected Republican representing New York City in Washington.
He was elected to Congress in a 1997 special election. He is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and earned a law degree from Fordham University.