Weiner in tearful apology to sex text teenager
Former US Congressman Anthony Weiner wept yesterday as he pleaded guilty to sending sexually explicit messages to a teenage girl, ending an investigation into a "sexting" scandal that played a role in last year's US presidential election.
"I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse," a tearful Weiner said, apologising to the 15-year-old girl to whom he sent sexually explicit images and messages last year.
The charge of transferring obscene material to a minor carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, but Weiner is likely to get less. As part of his plea agreement before US District Judge Loretta Preska in New York City, federal prosecutors said they would consider a term between 21 months and 27 months "fair and appropriate".
Weiner will be sentenced on September 8.
The former Democratic congressman's political career imploded after a series of scandals involving inappropriate sexual exchanges with women online.
The probe into his exchanges with the teenage girl, however, also helped upend the final days of the 2016 US presidential campaign.
Federal agents who had seized Weiner's laptop discovered a batch of emails from Huma Abedin, a senior aide to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.
As a result, James Comey, then the director of the FBI, announced in late October that the agency was reviewing the messages to determine whether to reopen its investigation into Mrs Clinton's handling of official correspondence.
Mrs Clinton, who was leading in national polls at the time, has blamed her loss to Republican Donald Trump in part on Mr Comey's announcement, even though he said two days before the election in November that the review had uncovered no new evidence.
Hours after the court hearing, Ms Abedin filed for divorce, the 'New York Post' reported.
She had announced her separation from Weiner last summer after a new round of explicit messages emerged that included an image of Weiner's crotch as he lay in bed with their young son.