Disgraced former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner entered a guilty plea Friday in a Manhattan federal courtroom to a charge of transferring obscene material to a minor, and the judge told the once-rising liberal star he would have to register as a sex offender.
U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska presided over the hearing, during which Weiner cried and admitted, “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse.”
As a registered sex offender, by law Weiner cannot own or possess a firearm or ammunition under federal law, making for a remarkable irony. During his time in Congress, which began in 1999, Weiner was considered a protégé of anti-gun New York Sen. Charles Schumer.
The 52-year-old ex-congressman will face sentencing on Sept. 8. According to published reports, he could face up to 10 years in prison. He has agreed not to appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months, according to CBS in New York.
Weiner’s career came to an embarrassing halt in 2011 when it was revealed he had engaged in “sexting” with multiple women. He had sent them sexually explicit messages that he had first tried to pass off as a hoax.
In 2013, he tried to run for mayor of New York but that campaign was short-lived.
Weiner’s communications with a 15-year-old girl that began in early 2015 surfaced last year as the result of a federal investigation that began when the girl told a news agency about the exchanges, described as “lewd” in a Seattle Times story.
But that investigation led to a bombshell revelation that Weiner’s laptop contained emails that had been sent by then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton to Huma Abedin, Weiner’s now-estranged wife and a key Clinton aide.
Abedin and Weiner were married in 2010 and they have one child together. They are now separated.
It was the discovery of those emails that led then-FBI Director James Comey to announce that his agency was reopening its investigation of Clinton’s use of a private server to handle State Department business. Clinton has said she believes that revelation contributed to her defeat Nov. 8 by Donald Trump.