Anthony Weiner Pleads Guilty to Sexting Charge - NBC 10 Philadelphia
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Anthony Weiner Pleads Guilty to Sexting Charge

Prosecutors are recommending 21 to 27 months in prison

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    Anthony Weiner's estranged wife Huma Abedin filed for divorce hours later. Andrew Siff reports.

    (Published Friday, May 19, 2017)

    Former Rep. Anthony Weiner pleaded guilty on Friday to one federal count related to "sexting" with minors, an offense that means he will have to register as a sex offender.

    His estranged wife Huma Abedin -- once one of Hillary Clinton's closest aides -- filed for divorce hours later. 

    Weiner surrendered to the FBI Friday morning, and tearfully confessed his transgressions in a brief hearing. 

    "I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse," Weiner said in court. (Read his full statement)

    Weiner quickly left the Manhattan courthouse after the proceedings, being hustled into a waiting car and taking no questions from the throngs of reporters.

    The government is seeking a term of 21 months to 27 months in jail on the single count of transferring obscene material to a minor, though with no mandatory minimum the judge could still give him probation. He will be sentenced Sept. 8, and had to surrender his passport and iPhone in the meantime. 

    Federal prosecutors had been weighing whether to file child pornography charges against the disgraced ex-Democratic congressman since last year, sources previously told NBC 4 New York.

    The charge stems from the sexually charged text messages and Skype conversations Weiner, now 52, exchanged with a 15-year-old girl from January to March 2016. The messages were revealed when online news outlet DailyMail.com interviewed the girl last September.

    "I knew this was as morally wrong as it was unlawful," Weiner said in his statement. 

    The investigation into Weiner ended up intruding on last year's presidential campaign. It was during the probe into Weiner that the FBI found emails on a laptop that related to a past investigation into Clinton's email practices. 

    The New York Times first reported Weiner's surrender and expected plea. 

    Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011 after admitting to a series of online sexual relationships. But his rehabilitation was swift, and in 2013 he mounted a campaign for mayor. He held a commanding lead in the Democratic primary race as late as June 2013, until more, newer relationships came to light.

    In late 2014 he admitted his political career was likely over -- aside from an idle boast last summer that he would beat beat Donald Trump Jr. "like a rented mule" if the president's son ran for mayor.