Politics

Weiner pleads guilty to criminal charge in sexting investigation

Former US Congressman Anthony Weiner left federal court Friday.

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Former US Congressman Anthony Weiner left federal court Friday.

NEW YORK (AP) — Former congressman Anthony Weiner, whose penchant for sexting strangers online ended his political career and led to an investigation that upended the presidential race, appeared in federal court Friday and plead guilty to charges in connection with his online communications with a 15-year-old girl.

Weiner agreed Friday not to appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison.

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The judge told him he would have to register as a sex offender.

The FBI began investigating Weiner in September after the 15-year-old North Carolina girl told a tabloid news site, the Daily Mail, that she and the disgraced former politician had exchanged lewd messages for several months.

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She also accused him of asking her to undress on camera.

The investigation 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 Huma Abedin, Weiner’s wife.

In late 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.

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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 loss to Republican Donald Trump on Comey’s announcement.

Weiner’s lawyer, Arlo Devlin Brown, didn’t immediately return a message Friday.

Weiner, who represented New York in Congress from 1999 to 2011, resigned after revelations that he was sending sexually explicit messages to multiple women.

He ran for New York City mayor in 2013 and was leading several polls until it was revealed he had continued his questionable behavior.

His failed mayoral bid is the subject of the documentary ‘‘Weiner.’’

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