Ex-U.S. Congressman Weiner pleads guilty in teen 'sexting' case

Fri May 19, 2017 10:07pm GMT

By Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner wept on Friday as he pleaded guilty to sending sexually explicit messages to a teenage girl, capping a "sexting" scandal that played a role in last year's U.S. presidential election during its waning days.

Wearing a navy suit, maroon tie and his wedding band, a tearful Weiner, 52, described his conduct before U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in New York City.

"I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse," Weiner said, apologising to the 15-year-old girl to whom he sent inappropriate images and messages last year.

Hours after the court hearing, his wife Huma Abedin, a senior aide to 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, filed for divorce in a Manhattan court, according to the New York Post.

A lawyer for Abedin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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 when sentenced on Sept. 8. As part of his plea agreement, federal prosecutors said they would consider a term between 21 months and 27 months "fair and appropriate."

The plea deal appeared to seal the demise of a once-promising political career derailed by a series of scandals, stemming from what Weiner described in court as a compulsive need to seek sexual attention from women on social media.

The investigation into his exchanges with the teenage girl also roiled the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign days before Election Day.   Continued...

Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner exits U.S. Federal Court, after pleading guilty to one count of sending obscene messages to a minor, ending an investigation into a "sexting" scandal that played a role in last year's U.S. presidential election, in New York City, U.S., May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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