Anthony Weiner’s fall from grace appears to finally be complete.
The 52-year-old former Congressman from Queens, who stepped down in June 2011 after sending lewd images to women he associated with online, pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to charges that he sent indecent images to a girl that he knew to be 15 years of age.
During his appearance in a Manhattan courtroom, NBC News reported, Weiner openly wept as he entered his plea, stating, “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse.” He faces up to 10 years behind bars when he is sentenced on Sept. 8.
Prosecutors said Weiner made contact with the minor online between January and March of last year, using online messaging and video chats to communicate with the girl. During those exchanges, authorities said, Weiner sent her obscene material, which included pornographic images and directions on how to engage in various sexual activity.
“Weiner’s conduct was not only reprehensible, but a federal crime, one for which he is now convicted and will be sentenced,” acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said.
First elected to Congress in 1998, Weiner represented a large swath of Brooklyn and Queens, including the neighborhood of Forest Hills, where he would live. Known for his fiery rhetoric on the House floor and in public debate, he was considered a rising star within the Democratic Party; he made an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2005, losing the Democratic nomination to then-Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer.
It all came crashing down in the spring of 2011, however, when a lewd photo of Weiner, sent from his Twitter account to a woman, surfaced on the internet. After it was first reported, Weiner denied that he sent it, claiming his account was hacked; he would later admit to sending the image.
Several additional explicit photos of Weiner then surfaced, and the story quickly gained national attention, drawing sharp rebukes from his colleagues in Congress and from the White House. President Barack Obama would call on Weiner to step down from office.
Weiner finally resigned from office on June 16, 2011, and for a while retreated into relative obscurity. Two years later, however, he made a bid at a political comeback, again running for mayor in a crowded Democratic primary field. For a time, he led in the polls, but his ambition was again derailed by his own vices — as reports surfaced that he again engaged in sexting (using the nom de plume “Carlos Danger”) with three other women just a year after he resigned from Congress.
Weiner wound up with the fewest votes of any primary candidate, finishing well behind the eventual mayor, Bill de Blasio.
The former Congressman is separated from his wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to former Secretary of State and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.