A tearful former Rep. Anthony Weiner pleaded guilty Friday to sexting a minor, apologizing in court to the teenaged victim and blaming his own “destructive impulses” for the prison time that now awaits him.
The New York federal judge accepted Weiner’s admission to sending sexually explcit texts to a minor across state lines, and Weiner agreed to not appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison. He also must register as a sex offender.
“I have compulsively sought attention from women who contacted me on social media, and I engaged with many of them in both sexual and non-sexual conversation,” Weiner said in a prepared statement. “These destructive impulses brought great devastation to my family and friends, and destroyed my life’s dream of public service.
“I remained in denial even as the world around me fell apart,” he added.
In the statement, Weiner apologized to his family and the teenager and said he had come to grips with his twisted compulsions.
“I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” Weiner said.
The FBI began investigating Weiner in September after a 15-year-old North Carolina girl told a tabloid news site that she and the former politician had exchanged lewd messages for several months.
She also accused him of asking her to undress on camera.
The New York Times first reported that the former New York Democratic congressman would enter the plea Friday in Manhattan.
The plea covers conduct from January to March of 2016. The charge reportedly carries a potential sentence ranging up to 10 years in prison – though the former congressman also could avoid prison entirely.
The outspoken politician resigned from Congress in 2011 after an errant tweet ended up exposing his sexting habits. He later mounted an unsuccessful run for New York City mayor.
But the scandal, first reported by the Daily Mail, exposed that he had been sending explicit messages to a minor, the controversy took a turn into criminal territory.
The investigation infamously intersected last year with the 2016 presidential campaign, when agents seized devices and found emails between Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin, Weiner’s estranged wife and a top Clinton adviser.
This discovery led the FBI to revisit the case of Clinton’s personal email use as secretary of state – while the case was again shuttered, Clinton has since cited that development as contributing to her defeat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Disgraced former New York congressman Anthony Weiner will plead guilty to charges that he sent obscene material to a 15-year-old girl, The New York Times has reported.
Weiner, 52, will enter a guilty plea with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan on a single charge of sending explicit material to a minor. The girl alleged that he sent her nude photos, shared pornographic videos with her, discussed his “rape fantasies,” and requested that she undress and masturbate during video calls.
The crime carries a sentence of up to 10 years in jail, although it is likely that the sentence will mean Weiner becomes a registered sex offender, although a final determination is yet to be made.
Throughout his political career, Weiner, who is married to close Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, has been embroiled in a number of sexting scandals.
The first, exposed in 2011 by the late Andrew Breitbart and dubbed ‘Weinergate,’ led to his resignation from Congress and the issuing of a public apology.
Then, in 2013, while running as a candidate for mayor of New York, more photos were published of Weiner sexting another woman under the alias ‘Carlos Danger.’ Despite the revelation, Weiner did not pull out the race and eventually finished fifth with just 4.9 percent of the vote.
Now, Huma Abedin, who last year revealed she was separating from Weiner, is reportedly “working hard” to save the couple’s marriage.
According to sources close to the New York Post, Abedin remains “in love” with Weiner, blaming the “pressures of the campaign and presidential race and him drifting off into obscurity” for his latest relapse.