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Weiner pleads guilty in sexting case

  • Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner leaves Federal court, Friday, May 19, 2017, in New York. Weiner pleaded guilty to a charge of transmitting sexual material to a minor and could get years in prison. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Mary Altaffer

  • In this courtroom artist's sketch, Anthony Weiner, right, accompanied by his attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown, reads a statement during a hearing, Friday, May 14, 2017 in New York Federal court. Weiner pleaded guilty to transmitting sexual material to a minor. (Jane Rosenberg via AP) Jane Rosenberg

  • Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner leaves Federal court, Friday, May 19, 2017, in New York. Weiner pleaded guilty to a charge of transmitting sexual material to a minor and could get years in prison. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Mary Altaffer

  • Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner leaves Federal court, Friday, May 19, 2017, in New York. Weiner pleaded guilty to transmitting sexual material to a minor. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Mary Altaffer

  • Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner leaves Federal court after his guilty plea Friday in New York. ap photo



Associated Press
Friday, May 19, 2017

NEW YORK — Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, whose penchant for sexting strangers ended his political career and sparked a probe that upended the presidential race, pleaded guilty Friday to a sex charge, tearfully apologizing for communications with a 15-year-old girl that he said destroyed his “life’s dream in public service.”

Weiner, who could go to prison, pleaded guilty to a single count of transmitting obscene material to a minor. He admitted exchanging online messages with the girl beginning in January 2015 and “sharing explicit images and encouraging her to engage in sexually explicit conduct.”

“I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” he said.

In court, the 52-year-old former Democratic congressman paused repeatedly as he fought back tears and tried to compose himself. He said he knew the texting was “as morally wrong as it was unlawful.”

Pleading to the charge, which requires him to register as a sex offender, could bring a sentence of up to 10 years. But Weiner is likely to serve much less time if he is sentenced to prison.

In a plea agreement with prosecutors, he agreed not to appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison. His lawyer can request leniency at a sentencing scheduled for Sept. 8.

In a written plea agreement, prosecutors said aggravating factors such as the age of the victim would have called for a prison sentence of up to 14 years under sentencing guidelines were it not for the plea bargain and a 10-year maximum penalty on the charge.

Wearing his wedding ring and a dark blue suit with a maroon tie, Weiner read from a prepared statement after U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska addressed him: “Tell me what you did, sir.”

He said he “compulsively sought attention from women who contacted me on social media” beginning with his service in Congress and continuing through the first half of last year.

“I engaged with many of them in both sexual and nonsexual conversation,” he said. “These destructive impulses brought great devastation to my family and friends and destroyed my life’s dream in public service. Yet I remained in denial even as the world around me fell apart.”