Updated: 1:05 p.m.
Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, whose penchant for sexting strangers ended his political career and led to an investigation that upended the presidential race, pleaded guilty Friday to criminal charges in connection to sending sexual material to a 15-year-old girl.
Weiner faced up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, he agreed not to appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison. He also gave up his iPhone, posted $150,000 in bail and cannot travel out of the state.
In court, Weiner broke down crying several times as he read a prepared statement. He apologized to everyone he hurt, including the then 15 year-old girl with whom he exchanged sexually explicit texts between January and March of 2016.
"I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse," the former Democratic congressman said.
Referring to his exchanges with the girl, he said, "I engaged in obscene communication with this teenager," adding, "just as I had done and continued to do with adult women. I knew this was as morally wrong as it was unlawful."
Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, was not in court. They announced their separation last year after another sexting scandal that included a photo of Weiner posing next to their young son.
Weiner was already in federal custody ahead of the hearing. The judge told him he would have to register as a sex offender.
The FBI began investigating Weiner in September after the North Carolina teen told a tabloid news site, the Daily Mail, that she and the disgraced former politician had exchanged lewd messages for several months.
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 Abedin, her longtime aide.
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.
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, 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 was the subject of the documentary "Weiner."
The statement he read in court noted that his "destructive impulses" had brought great devastation to family and friends and "destroyed my life's dream of public service. And yet I remained in denial even as the world around me fell apart."
Weiner went on to say he "hit bottom" last fall and entered intensive treatment, and began a program of mental health treatment that he continues to follow.
Sentencing will be in September.