~ Where the Sun Will Never Set on Our liberty ~
Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner wept openly in federal court Friday as he pleaded guilty to sexting a 15-year-old girl — and broke down as he admitted to the judge: "I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse."
Weiner, 52, pleaded guilty in Federal District Court in lower Manhattan to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor. Under a plea agreement, prosecutors asked he serve 21 to 27 months behind bars. He must also register as a sex offender.
Hours after his emotional court appearance, estranged wife Huma Abedin filed for divorce, a source close to the family told NBC New York. The couple has one child together.
Video Anthony Weiner Pleads Guilty in Sexting Case
During court, Weiner wore his wedding ring, according to The Associated Press. He answered the judge's questions before reading a prepared statement to the court, explaining how he was contacted by the girl online in January 2016 and knew she was 15.
"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.
Weiner, who was joined in court by his father and brother, was released on bail pending a Sept. 8 sentencing and did not answer reporters' questions as he left. A judge next month could decide instead to give Weiner probation. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
He also had to surrender his passport and iPhone, and agreed not to leave New York before his sentencing, according to NBC New York.
"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 Kim said in a statement.
Weiner, once considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, had represented his congressional district in Brooklyn and Queens for almost 12 years before a string of sexting scandals torpedoed his career. He stepped down in 2011 after admitting to sending sexually explicit social media messages and texts to women.
But the sexting didn't stop, and a series of explicit exchanges continued in early 2016 with the 15-year-old girl from North Carolina, two highly knowledgeable sources told NBC News in September.
Weiner allegedly sent pornographic videos and made requests that the girl be nude and masturbate, the sources said. He allegedly used the alias "T Dog" with her.
I hear you! Not on his BEST day! Haha