NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner has admitted exchanging sexually explicit text messages with a teenage girl.
Weiner, 52, surrendered Friday morning and was taken to Manhattan federal court, where he pleaded guilty to a charge of transferring obscene material to a minor.
Weiner did not comment as he walked out of the courthouse, but in court he said his “… destructive impulses brought great devastation to my family and friends and destroyed my life’s dream of public service.”
His plea was explicit.
“I engaged in obscene communication with this teenager,” Weiner said, “Including sharing explicit images, and encouraging her to engage in sexually explicit conduct.”
He cried as he apologized to the teen saying, “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse.”
Weiner’s attorney said his client “accepted full responsibility” and “apologized, offered no excuses, and made a commitment to make amends.” He said Weiner is “focused on his recovery.”
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer explained, the judge told Weiner he would have to register as a sex offender.
Sources tell CBS2 Huma Abedin’s attorneys are filing her divorce papers Friday afternoon in Lower Manhattan.
Abedin forgave Weiner twice — first when the sexting scandal forced his resignation from Congress in 2011, and again when more sexting incidents surfaced two years later.
Weiner has been released on $150,000 bail pending his sentencing, which has been set for Sept. 8. He could face a fine and anywhere from no time in prison to up to 10 years.
Weiner agreed to not appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison — but a judge acknowledged that she wasn’t bound by that, and could send him away for even longer.
“Weiner’s conduct was not only reprehensible, but a federal crime, one for which he is now convicted and will be sentenced,” Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said in a statement.
Weiner had been under investigation since last September when a then-15-year-old North Carolina girl claimed in a published report that Weiner sent her shirtless photos of himself and more graphic messages, even though she made it clear she is underage.
The report appeared in Britain’s Daily Mail and claimed that the two traded sexually charged messages for several months.
She also reportedly accused him of asking her to undress on camera.
At the time, Weiner said: “I have repeatedly demonstrated terrible judgment about the people I have communicated with online and the things I have sent. I am filled with regret and heartbroken for those I hurt. While I have provided the Daily Mail with information showing that I have likely been the subject of a hoax, I have no one to blame but me for putting myself in this position. I am sorry.”
The revelations came a month after photos surfaced of Weiner sexting a woman while his 4-year-old son was sleeping in his bed.
Shortly afterward, Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, announced her separation from Weiner. The separation occurred after photos of another sexting scandal appeared in the New York Post.
The investigation into Weiner’s online communications led FBI agents to seize his laptop computer, which led to the discovery of a new cache of emails that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had sent to Abedin, her aide.
In October, just days before the election, FBI director James Comey stunned the country by announcing that his agency was reopening its closed investigation into Clinton’s handling of State Department business on a private email server so it could analyze the newly discovered correspondence.
That inquiry was brief. Comey announced shortly before the election that the new emails contained nothing to change his view that Clinton could not be charged with a crime. But Clinton partly blamed her election loss to Republican Donald Trump on Comey’s announcement.
“I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28, and Russian Wikileaks,” Clinton said.
Weiner will have to forfeit the phone he used for sexting, along with any pictures and videos.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)