Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner, who became widely known because of a sexting scandal that led to his resignation, has pleaded guilty over sex chats with a 15-year-old girl. He likely faces about 2 years in prison.
Weiner, 52, cried in court on Friday as he apologized to the teenager with whom he exchanged in sex chats and video calls, according to the Associated Press. He entered a guilty plea to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor.
“I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” Weiner said in court, as quoted by AP.
As part of a plea deal, Weiner has agreed to not appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison, although the judge will have the option to impose a sentence as high as 10 years. Weiner will also have to register as a sex offender.
“Weiner’s conduct was not only reprehensible, but a federal crime, one for which he is now convicted and will be sentenced,” said Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim. “We thank the FBI and the NYPD for their work in this investigation.”
The allegations were first revealed in September when the teenager approached the UK’s Daily Mail, saying her online relationship with Weiner began in January 2016. They engaged in sex chats and video calls during which Weiner asked the girl to strip naked and masturbate.
Weiner served as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 9th district from January 1999 until his resignation in June 2011 after it was revealed that he had been sexting with at least 6 women over a 3-year period, both before and during his marriage with Huma Abedin, a close aide to Hillary Clinton.
The scandal erupted when Weiner tried to send a sexually suggestive picture in a private message to a female follower on Twitter, but instead he accidentally sent it to all of his followers on Twitter. He initially tried to deny sending the photo, claiming his account had been hacked.
In 2013, Weiner announced that he would run for Mayor of New York City and briefly led the polls for the Democratic primary until it emerged that he had continued to engage in sexting after his resignation. Weiner lost support in the polls and gave up after receiving only 5% of the vote in the primary.
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