Former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner pleaded guilty Friday to a single charge of transferring obscene material to a minor in a plea deal with the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan.
Weiner faces a sentence of up to 10 years, which a judge will decide at a sentencing hearing in September. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
Hours after the plea, Weiner’s estranged wife Huma Abedin filed for divorce.
In court, Weiner tearfully apologized to the 15-year-old girl with whom he exchanged sexual messages USA Today reported.
“I accept full responsibility for my conduct,” Weiner said. “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse. I apologize to everyone I have hurt. I apologize to the teenage girl, whom I mistreated so badly. I am committed to making amends to all those I have harmed.”
Reports of Weiner exchanging sexual messages with a teenager became a factor in the 2016 presidential election when the FBI seized Weiner’s electronic devices as evidence. Abedin was a major figure in the Clinton presidential campaign, and emails to her discovered on the devices led FBI director James Comey to announce a new investigation into Clinton’s email practices in October. The inquiry ended two days before the election with no charges.
Weiner has been involved in several successive scandals related to his exchanging sexual messages with women. Weiner served on the New York City Council from 1992 to 1999, when he was elected to represent New York’s 9th District in Congress. He held that seat until his first sexting scandal led to his resignation in 2011.
In 2013, Weiner attempted a comeback as candidate for New York mayor, but a new round of sexting revelations doomed his campaign. A 2016 film documented this second downfall. Abedin separated from Weiner after evidence of another relationship involving sending sexual messages emerged in 2016.