As anticipated earlier today, former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner — whose Carlos Danger moniker has been synonymous with lewd online behavior since 2011 — has pleaded guilty on a charge of transferring obscene material to a minor. He appeared in a Manhattan federal court, where he shed tears while apologizing to the 15-year-old girl who had accused him of sexting her and asking her (via Twitter and Skype) to remove her clothing.
Of his actions, Weiner reportedly told the courtroom, “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse.” The Associated Press reports that Weiner has now agreed not to contest his eventual sentence (ranging from 21 to 27 months in prison, if prosecutors get their way). He must also register as a sex offender as well as surrender his passport and phone. NBC News has more of Weiner’s courtroom dialogue:
“Through approximately March 2016, I engaged in obscene communications with this teenager, including sharing explicit images and encouraging her to engage in sexually explicit conduct, just as I had done and continued to do with adult women,” Weiner said. “I knew this was as morally wrong as it was unlawful.”
Amid sobs, he said that last fall he “came to grips for the first time with the depths of my sickness. I had hit bottom,” and chose to enter “intensive treatment.” He then apologized to the girl.
This apology departs from Weiner’s initial stance (when the scandal broke last summer), which was to deny the accusations as an elaborate hoax. The FBI subsequently dug into his electronic devices, and James Comey used part of what was found to reopen the probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The estranged husband of Huma Abedin has left much havoc in his wake, and he could actually serve time over this sexting scandal after acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim called his conduct “reprehensible.”
Weiner will be sentenced on September 8.