State Attorney Jeff Ashton, who is known for his prosecution of the Casey Anthony trial, admitted Sunday he used the website AshleyMadison.com out of curiosity.
“Today I’m not very proud of myself,” said Ashton, who addressed the issue at a Sunday afternoon news conference at the Wyndham Resort in Orlando.
Ashton called the news conference in response to a report published by the East Orlando Post on Saturday, which alleged Ashton had two accounts on AshleyMadison.com, a website which encourages married people to cheat on their spouses. Hackers recently exposed a long list of users.
Ashton says he was curious about the website, but he never carried on a relationship with anyone and never cheated on his wife.
“Because in the last analysis I couldn’t do that to my wife. I know it sounds bizarre to say that you are interested in looking at the site, but not doing it, but that’s the honest answer,” said Ashton.
Ashton says while he sometimes accessed the website while in his government office, he only used his personal laptop and only accessed public Wi-Fi.
“While no laws were broken, these were incredibly stupid choices,” said Ashton.
Jacob Engels, who describes himself as a political operative on the East Orlando Post website that named Ashton, says the state attorney crossed the line.
“Taxpayers are paying for that wifi so he was using government resources to frequent the extra-marital website,” said Engels.
Ashton apologized to his wife and kids.
“I want to publicly apologize to each of them for this embarrassment and my blatant disregard for their feelings,” said Ashton.
Ashton says he doesn’t think his visits to AshleyMadison.com have – or will interfere with his work as Orange and Osceola County’s top prosecutor.
Orange County Mayor Theresa Jacobs said Sunday she has instructed county officials to review the county’s database to see if any employees have used work time and taxpayer money to access the dating website.