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Anthony Weiner Sentenced To Twenty-One Months In Prison

Image: Rep. Anthony Weiner Admits To Tweeting Lewd Photo, Lying

What appears to be the final chapter in the very public downfall of former Congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of close Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, when he was sentenced to twenty-one months in Federal prison for his sexting relationship with an underage girl:

Anthony D. Weiner, whose repeated sexting scandals cost him his seat in Congress, his bid to become mayor of New York City, and possibly Hillary Clinton’s chances at the presidency, was sentenced on Monday to 21 months in prison.

His inability to control his habit of exchanging lewd texts and pictures with women fueled his long and tortuous downfall. But it was his most recent exchanges with a 15-year-old girl that were the most personally ruinous, ending his marriage and resulting in his criminal conviction and a prison sentence.

Until now, Mr. Weiner, 53, had been the beneficiary of multiple second chances, resurrecting his political savvy and promise amid earnest vows that he had learned his lesson.

But this time, there would be no second chance for Mr. Weiner, who pleaded guilty in May to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor, and had faced up to 10 years in prison.

Before the sentence was pronounced, Mr. Weiner did not so much ask for leniency, but tried to make a case that he had accepted responsibility for his crime, and that he was a changed man.

“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.”

Reports of the federal investigation that led to Mr. Weiner’s being charged in the case first surfaced 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 Ms. Abedin, which 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.

Judge Denise L. Cote of Federal District Court in Manhattan told Mr. Weiner that his offense was “a serious crime that deserves serious punishment.”

She said she agreed with Mr. Weiner’s lawyers’ contention that he was finally receiving effective treatment for a disease of sexual compulsion, that he was engaging in sex addition therapy and was making what she called “an enormous contribution” to others suffering from that disease.

“But the difficulty here,” Judge Cote said, “is that this is a very strong compulsion.” It was so strong, she added, that despite “two very public disclosures and the destruction of his career on two occasions, he continued with the activity.”

After the hearing ended and Judge Cote had left the bench, Mr. Weiner remained seated between his lawyers, Arlo Devlin-Brown and Erin Monju, at the defense table, bent deeply forward in his chair, sobbing, his face in his hands. The judge also fined Mr. Weiner, who must surrender on Nov. 6, $10,000.

Weiner’s attorneys had asked the Judge for probation and claimed that the former Congressman had made “remarkable progress” with his treatment over the past year. Weiner himself, meanwhile, said that he profoundly regretted his time and regret that what he described as the aspirations of his wife and ruined their marriage. On the other hand, Federal prosecutors argued that Weiner’s conduct had proven that probation would not be an adequate to cover his crime, recommending a sentence of between 21 and 27 months. As the prosecution’s sentencing memo put it, ”Although the defendant’s self-destructive path from United States congressman to felon is indisputably sad, his crime is serious and his demonstrated need for deterrence is real.” Given the fact that the Judge ultimately imposed a sentence at the low end of the range suggested by the prosecution, it’s clear who had won that particular part of the argument. Although not mentioned in the article, it also seems likely that Weiner will be required to register as a sex offender and that he will remain on that list for the better part of the rest of his life.

All of this brings to an end a saga that began back in June 2011 when Weiner, who at that point was a rising star in Congress and seen by many as someone eventually likely to become either a U.S. Senator from New York or Mayor of New York City. Instead, he ended up getting caught up in a sexting scandal when evidence was released of him using his Twitter account to send sexually explicit messages to several women. After initially denying that anything had happened and claimed his account had been “hacked,” Weiner acknowledged “inappropriate relationships” and resigned from Congress. Within two years, though, Weiner was back and attempting a comeback by running for Mayor of New York City only to find that campaign undermined by a renewed round of sexting allegations. Additional allegations of that type became public in August of last year when it was revealed that he had been caught doing so in the presence of his son, which caused his then-estranged wife Huma Abedin to file for divorce. At roughly the same time, it was revealed that Weiner had been sexting with an underage girl in another state. That led to a Federal investigation that ended up having implications for the race for the White House when

With less than three weeks to go before Election Day, F.B.I. Director James Comey to sent a letter to Congress advising the heads of various Congressional Committees of this discovery and the fact that, as a result, the Bureau had reopened its investigation into Clinton’s server and the handling of classified material to determine if these emails were new, or merely copies of correspondence that the Bureau had already reviewed previously in its investigation. That letter, coming as it less than three weeks before Election Day, has been seen by as one of the factors that led to Clinton’s loss in the General Election in November. It was also one of the factors discussed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the memorandum he prepared as justification for the decision to fire F.B.I. Director James Comey. As noted, Comey ultimately sent a second letter two days before the election that notified the relevant Congressional committees advising them that the new investigation had not revealed any new emails or other evidence that would justify reopening the investigation. In many respects, though, one could argue that Hillary Clinton may have won the election last year if she and former President Bill Clinton had not introduced long-time aide Huma Abedin to Capitol Hill’s “most eligible bachelor,” a man named Anthony Weiner.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Stormy Dragon says:

    That photo is like a really skinny clone of Nixon.

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  2. michael reynolds says:

    Hard to work up any sympathy. He had competent counsel, he had multiple chances, he lied to everyone, he broke the law and the crime involved perving on underage females.

    21 months? Fair.

    By the way, for the benefit of our resident MAGArons, this is how you respond to someone on ‘your side’ being caught in serious criminal activity or in moral turpitude. I realize you’re not capable of acting on principle or even of minimal honesty, but hey, maybe someday you’ll escape the cult and when that day comes and you decide to rejoin civilization, now you know how even partisans are meant to behave.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  3. Paul L. says:

    @michael reynolds:

    21 months? Fair.

    Progressives are bringing up Dennis Hastert on how unfair the sentence was.

    Nice to see the same people (Rachel Maddow) who claimed Anthony Weiner’s problems was just a fake Photoshopped hoax by Andrew Breitbart are pretending they did not defending him.

    By the way, for the benefit of our resident MAGArons, this is how you respond to someone on ‘your side’ being caught in serious criminal activity or in moral turpitude.

    Defend them until all the excuses are debunked and you are backed into corner?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  4. Facebones says:

    All of this brings to an end a saga that began back in June 2011

    Promise?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. gVOR08 says:

    All of this brings to an end a saga…

    Not until Trump is gone and we’ve heard the last cry of, “Lock her up!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Doug, as one of the lawyers here, how much time do you think he’ll actually do? I know that because his sentence is greater than 1 year (as was explained to me by a Fed public defender many years ago), he can be released in less, but my money is on 14 months. What say you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:
    I’ve seen exactly no one defend Weiner. And do not compare sexting with rape. Hastert raped children. He got 15 months. If we have a complaint it’s with the leniency shown there.

    But thanks for proving my point: you cannot be a Republican nowadays unless you’re prepared to abandon fairness, objectivity and basic honesty.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  8. CSK says:

    “Rising” star? Oh, Doug…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Kylopod says:

    @Paul L.: Dude, you just elected a guy who confessed on tape to groping women. You have no standing to criticize liberals for hypocrisy. NONE. AT. ALL.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  10. Paul L. says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’ve seen exactly no one defend Weiner.

    Flashback: MSNBC’s Maddow Defends Weiner With Many Possible Conspiracy Theories

    You have no standing to criticize [ ] for hypocrisy. NONE. AT. ALL.

    Same standard for people who defended/excused/believe the Duke Lacrosse and UVA Frat Gang rape hoaxes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  11. Kylopod says:

    @Paul L.: None of those people were elected president of the United States. That’s the distinction you fail to grasp. You act like Democrats are all some kind of super-organism where anytime anyone anywhere does something wrong, it’s proof of the collective depravity of all Dems everywhere. When Anthony Weiner was in Congress and was caught sexting with consenting adult women, the party immediately abandoned him and he was forced to resign, even though he did nothing illegal and hadn’t even technically committed adultery. Some liberals, such as Rachel Maddow, can be legitimately criticized for failing to realize the truth initially, but they certainly didn’t defend him after the charges were proven, and nobody is defending him now. (Well, maybe Milo Y. would…)

    Contrast that with the way your team handled Trump. Trump wasn’t accused of sexual assault and denied it, as was the case with Bill Clinton. Trump was caught on tape actually confessing to it. And how did most Republicans react? They made him leader of the free world. That’s a level of enabling sex crimes beyond anything the Democratic Party has ever done, or even anything the GOP has done before last year. If the Dems had made Anthony Weiner their party’s nominee instead of hounding him from office and watching happily as he went to jail, you might have a case that the Dems are just as guilty as the GOP. But that simply isn’t what happened. The Dems did the responsible thing with Weiner, in exactly the way that the GOP did not with Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  12. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “By the way, for the benefit of our resident MAGArons, this is how you respond to someone on ‘your side’ being caught in serious criminal activity or in moral turpitude”

    I hope part of how to behave includes a little bit of sadness for a promising life full of talent wasted due to a truly stupid compulsion…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. wr says:

    @Paul L.: Progressives are bringing up Dennis Hastert on how unfair the sentence was.

    So you’re here to tell us that Hastert’s long history of molesting boys in his charge is a good thing because he’s a Republican? Pretty much what I expected of you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. rachel says:

    @Kylopod:

    Trump was caught on tape actually confessing to it.

    Not ‘confessing’; bragging.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Kylopod says:

    @rachel: Good point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0