Disgraced former U.S. Congressman Anthony D. Weiner entered a guilty plea in federal court on Friday for having transferred obscene material to a minor. The charges, which stemmed from a months-long online relationship that Weiner allegedly began with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in January 2016, could carry between zero to 10 years in prison. Weiner reportedly agreed not to appeal any conviction between 21 and 27 months of prison. “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” the former congressman said in court, reportedly breaking down in tears. The judge told Weiner, who had surrendered to FBI agents early Friday morning, that he would have to register as a sex offender.
Weiner, 51, had resigned from Congress after a sexting scandal in 2011. He also saw a mayoral bid collapse in 2013, after it was revealed that he had sent a woman a photo of his genitals under the pseudonym “Carlos Danger.” In August of 2016, it was revealed that Weiner had been sexting for more than a year with “a 40-something divorcee from the West” who also happened to be a Trump supporter. In one of the photos sent to the woman, Weiner could be seen in boxers with a visual bugle while his son, who was 4 at the time, slept in bed beside him. The report would prompt his long-suffering wife, Huma Abedin, a former Hillary Clinton aide, to separate from Weiner.
The news that Weiner would face federal investigation came in September, after The Daily Mail uncovered Weiner’s online relationship with a 15-year-old girl who had told him she was a fan of his through Twitter. During the investigation, F.B.I. agents seized a laptop from Weiner containing emails from Abedin — a discovery that led to former FBI Director James B. Comey’s October announcement that the bureau would be reopening investigations into Clinton’s handling of her email. Clinton has cited that inquiry, which ended without bringing any charges just two days before the election, as a factor in her electoral defeat.
According to The Daily Mail, the 15-year-old does not want to press charges against Weiner because she felt that their relationship was “consensual,” but she agreed to be interviewed about the matter “out of concern that Weiner may be sexting with other underage girls.”
Also on Friday, Abedin officially filed for divorce from Weiner in Manhattan Supreme Court, according to The New York Post. The filing is uncontested, which means Abedin is likely to not end up in a custody fight with Weiner over their son, who is now 5, or over her assets.