Anthony Weiner, the former New York congressman and husband of former top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, was sentenced on Monday to 21 months in prison for the sexting case that reopened a damaging investigation into Clinton’s email use.
Weiner pleaded guilty in May to the charges of transferring obscene material to a minor after sexting with a 15-year-old girl.
Weiner’s attorney had asked for probation, claiming Weiner had a “sickness” and that the teenager, who documented her communication with Weiner and sold her story to the British tabloid the Daily Mail in September 2016, was using the interaction for personal gain. Prosecutors, who sought 21 to 27 months in prison, said the victim’s motives did not matter. According to USA Today, the prosecutors wrote that:
He initially denied his conduct, he suffered personal and professional consequences, he publicly apologized and claimed reform … Yet he continued to engage in the very conduct he swore off, progressing … to that which is also destructive to a teenage girl.
According to reporting from the Manhattan federal court, Weiner read a statement saying he had “hit rock bottom” and was a “very sick man” in asking to be spared a prison sentence. When the judge announced his sentence, he held his head in his hands and cried.
The sexting scandal led the FBI to seize Weiner’s laptop, where it then found emails belonging to Abedin. In late October, then–FBI Director James Comey announced that the bureau would review the emails to see if they contained classified information, saying that the messages appeared “to be pertinent” to the previously closed investigation into Clinton’s email server. That review ended two days before the election, and Clinton has blamed Comey’s action in part for her loss.
Abedin filed for divorce after Weiner, who was first elected to Congress in 1999, pleaded guilty in May. The scandal was Weiner’s third major sexting scandal, the first of which cost him his congressional seat in 2011 and the second of which derailed his 2013 New York mayoral campaign (when it emerged he was using the pseudonym “Carlos Danger”). During the most recent sexting scandal, a photo circulated showing Weiner’s crotch as he lay next to his 4-year-old son.
When he pleaded guilty, Weiner told the court he had been in “intensive treatment” in which he “began a program of recovery and mental health treatment that I continue to follow every day.” He also apologized to the teenage girl, whom he said he “mistreated.”
The 52-year-old will also now have to register as a sex offender. He must report to prison by Nov. 6.