Anthony Weiner Sentenced To Twenty-One Months In Prison
With his sentencing, the strange, strange saga of Anthony Weiner has come to an end. What a strange and wild ride it has been.
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.”
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.