Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner could face up to 15 years in prison as he negotiates with federal prosecutors over possible child pornography charges.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan is reportedly considering charging Weiner with production of child pornography, after Dailymail.com reported in September that he carried on an online sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.
The charge carries a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Weiner is trying to negotiate a lesser charge through a plea agreement, according to the Journal.
Other potential charges reportedly include receipt of child pornography, which carries a 5-year mandatory minimum sentence, and possession of child pornography.
Attorneys for Weiner have reportedly met with prosecutors and are still hoping to discourage them from bringing any charges against the former congressman.
According to Dailymail.com, the former congressman sent the girl flirtatious and sexually-charged messages over the course of several months, complimenting her body and telling her that she made him "hard."
In other messages, the girl clearly told Weiner that she was in high school and had her learner's permit - but he still continued to message her.
The girl told Dailymail.com that she also spoke with Weiner over a video-messaging application, during which he asked her to undress and masturbate. She said he also encouraged her to engage in teacher-student role play and expressed "rape fantasies."
Weiner did not deny sending the messages to the girl, but claimed he was the victim of a "hoax."
After the Dailymail.com story, the FBI and U.S. attorney offices in two states launched investigations into Weiner's relationship with the teenage girl.
The FBI subpoenaed Weiner's computer - and uncovered unrelated emails on Weiner's computer from his wife, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
The emails prompted the FBI to reopen its investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server - sending her campaign into turmoil less than two weeks before the U.S. presidential election.
Weiner's once-promising career has been damaged by a series of sex scandals.
He publicly apologized and resigned from congress in 2011 after it was discovered that he exchanged raunchy photos and texts with several women. His 2013 mayoral campaign was also torpedoed after news broke that he had continued to send sexually-charged messages to at least one other woman.
In August, Child Protective Services in New York launched a probe into Weiner after the New York Post published a provocative photo he sent to another woman, which showed him half-naked in bed with his toddler-aged son. Abedin announced shortly afterward that the couple had separated.