Former New York congressman Anthony Weiner who lost his seat in Congress, his bid to resurrect his career as mayor of New York City, and his high-profile marriage. And he undermined Hillary Clinton’s shot at the presidency in the closing days dropped his head into his hands and wept as a federal judge sentenced him to 21 months in jail following his latest sexting scandal.
The 53yrs old Mr. Weiner, a Democrat, was the essence of the brash politician fueled by relentless work and unbridled swagger. Until now, he was the beneficiary of multiple second chances, amid earnest vows that he had learned his lesson.
In the sentence, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote cited a need in such a highly publicized case to “make a statement that can protect other minors.”
The judge said Weiner’s habit of exchanging sexually explicit messages and pictures with young women shows a “very strong compulsion” — so strong that “despite two very public disclosures and the destruction of his career on two occasions, he continued with the activity.”
The judge also addressed one issue that Mr. Weiner’s lawyers had raised in their papers: questions about the teenager’s motives and credibility. They noted she had received $30,000 for the DailyMail.com story and was “shopping” a book proposal.
The judge said the girl’s motives and the fact she had initiated the contact with Mr. Weiner were irrelevant: “She was a minor. She was a victim. She is entitled to the law’s full protection.”
Judge Cote also said that because of Mr. Weiner’s notoriety, there was “intense interest in this prosecution, in his plea, and his sentence.”
Weiner said,”I stand before you because I victimized a young girl who deserved better,” he said, adding, “Your Honor, I’m not asking that you trust that my recovery is real. I ask you for the opportunity to prove that it is real.” after claiming he is “a very sick man for a very long time,” Weiner tearfully apologized to the teen and sought to assure the judge he had finally learned his lesson. He has been undergoing therapy.
“I acted not only unlawfully but immorally, and if I had done the right thing, I would not be standing before you today,” he said, crying as he addressed the judge.
“The prosecutors are skeptical that I have truly changed and I don’t blame them,” he said. “I repeatedly acted in an obviously destructive way when I was caught.”
The prison sentence marks a new low in Weiner’s stunning personal and political fall from grace. As a member of Congress, he gained notoriety as a feisty speaker on the House floor. Now, as he begins his sentence, Weiner has lost his career and his wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton who announced she would seek divorce after the latest sexting scandal. Ms Abedin filed for divorce on the same day that Weiner plead guilty in May.”
prosecutor Amanda Kramer urged the judge to give Weiner a significant prison sentence to end his “tragic cycle” of getting caught sexting.
Weiner’s habit led him to resign his House seat in 2011, doomed his 2013 run for mayor, and rocked Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign during the closing days of the race, when FBI agents investigating his contact with the teen came across emails on his laptop between Abedin and Clinton.
The sexting scandal was the third to Weiner has faced, although both of the others involved women over the age of 18. The first scandal, in 2011, followed after Weiner sent a photo of his genitals – concealed by boxer briefs – to a 21-year-old college student who followed him on Twitter. Weiner initially refused to admit that it was him in the photograph, before ultimately admitting ownership of the picture during a press conference in New York. He later resigned from Congress as a result of the scandal.
Mr. Weiner’s being charged in the case first became public after the 15-year-old victim’s story was told in a DailyMail.com exposé in September 2016.
It was during that investigation that the F.B.I. discovered on Mr. Weiner’s laptop a trove of emails belonging to his wife, Huma Abedin, a senior aide to Hillary Clinton. That led to an announcement in late October by James B. Comey, then the F.B.I. director, that the bureau had opened a new inquiry into Mrs. Clinton’s handling of official email. The inquiry ended two days before the election. Mrs. Clinton has blamed Mr. Comey in part for her defeat.
Although the FBI did not find anything more of note in the Weiner emails, the emails did bring new attention to the issue that had dogged Ms Clinton’s candidacy and raised questions about her trustworthiness.