Former U.S. representative Anthony Weiner, whose penchant for sexting strangers ended his political career and led to an investigation that upended the presidential race, pleaded guilty Friday to criminal charges over his online communications with a 15-year-old girl.
Weiner pleaded guilty to a charge of transmitting sexual material to a minor and could get years in prison. He agreed not to appeal any sentence of between 21 and 27 months in prison.
In court, Weiner cried as he apologized to the teenager with whom he exchanged sexually explicit texts.
“I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” the former Democratic congressman said.
In the statement admitting to correspondence with the girl from January to March 2016, whom he knew to be underaged, Weiner said he had “entered intensive treatment” that he is still undergoing, and taken “a moral inventory of my defects.”
Weiner was already in federal custody ahead of the hearing. The judge told him he would have to register as a sex offender.
The FBI began investigating the Democrat in September after a 15-year-old North Carolina girl told a tabloid news site that she and the disgraced former politician had exchanged lewd messages for several months.
She also accused him of asking her to undress on camera.
Laptop became part of Clinton probe
Weiner’s lawyer, Arlo Devlin Brown, didn’t immediately return a message Friday.
The investigation of Weiner’s laptop led to the discovery of a cache of emails from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to her aide, Huma Abedin, Weiner’s wife, renewing a probe just two weeks before the election into her use of a private email server while she previously served as secretary of state.
That inquiry was brief.
Then FBI Director James Comey announced shortly before the election that the new emails contained nothing to change his view that Clinton could not be charged with a crime. But Clinton partly blamed her election loss to Republican Donald Trump on Comey’s announcement.
More recently, Comey sent Congress a letter correcting prior sworn testimony that Abedin had sent “hundreds and thousands” of emails, including some with classified information, to the laptop primarily used by Weiner. Comey, in his final hours on the job before being fired, said in his letter it was in fact only “a small number” of emails.
Weiner had previously been caught sexting, paving the way to his resignation as a congressman in 2011. Two years later, another incident permanently damaged his bid for New York City mayor, a period captured in the documentary Weiner.
CBC’s The Passionate Eyewill re-air the documentary Weiner on June 17 at 10 p.m. ET on CBC News Network.