WASHINGTON – After sabotaging his career, humiliating his wife and lying to the people of New York City, disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison for persuading a 15-year-old girl from North Carolina to undress and touch herself via Skype in 2016.
The feds said Weiner began a two-month sexting session with the teen shortly after she messaged him on Twitter in January 2016.
Police surrounded the New York courthouse as he made his way in.
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner just entered federal courthouse in Manhattan. Set to be sentenced this morning for sexting 15yo girl. pic.twitter.com/hi3CC9EC2m
— Nicole Fuller (@nicolefuller) September 25, 2017
Weiner, 53, dropped his head into his hand and wept as the sentence was announced by Judge Denise Cote. He must surrender to prison officials by Nov. 6., reported the Associated Press.
As Cote read the terms of Weiner’s sentence — including three years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine — he bowed his head and sobbed, holding a hand over his eyes.
“This was a serious crime, and it’s a serious crime that deserves serious punishment,” Cote said.
Weiner told Cote on Monday that he was “a very sick man for a very long time.” Weiner, weeping as he read from a written statement, called his crime his “rock bottom.”
“I was the adult … if I had done the right thing, I would not be standing before you today.”
Weiner wore his wedding band to the Manhattan federal court Monday, but his soon-to-be-ex-wife, former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, did not attend the sentencing.
Abedin, 41, previously wrote to the court that their 5-year-old son should not suffer from Weiner’s perversion.
“This is not a letter I ever imagined I would write, but, with Anthony, I have repeatedly found myself in circumstances I never imagined,” Abedin wrote. “I am devastated by Anthony’s actions, and I understand he must face their consequences.”
The FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan began investigating Weiner last September.
The girl, who has not been named, alleged she began the online relationship with Weiner after messaging him on Jan. 23, 2016, while she was a high-school sophomore and before Abedin announced she was ending their marriage. The student revealed that she was in high school, but that didn’t stop Weiner from asking her to undress and touch herself.
He progressed to sending her “obscene material,” including adult porn and a message “describing what he would do to her, if she were 18,” according to court filings.
The girl told the London Daily Mail – which paid the girl $30,000 for her story – that the disgraced former congressman asked her to dress up in “school-girl” outfits for him, strip naked, touch herself for him on video messaging applications Skype and Snapchat, and pressed her to engage in “rape fantasies.”
Weiner’s laptop was subsequently seized by law enforcement officials, who found correspondence between Abedin and then-Democratic Party presidential nominee Hilary Clinton.
Weiner pleaded guilty in May to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor, according to his plea deal. The charge carried a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Weiner begged for probation on the grounds that his relationship with the teenager was due to his obsession with sexting rather than an obsession with underage girls.
Defense lawyers attempted to assign blame to the girl, arguing that Weiner himself was a victim of the scandal because the high school student initiated contact with him, wanted to probe information from him to write a tell-all book and “hoped somehow to influence the U.S. presidential election.”
But prosecutors argued the motives of the victim should not influence his punishment.
“Adulation from strangers allowed Anthony to avoid grappling with his emotional deficits — at least until his career and personal life crashed down spectacularly,” the memo said.
Abedin filed for divorce the day of his guilty plea but still wrote in support of his bid for leniency.
Warning that other teens may be at risk, prosecutors asked the judge to put Weiner behind bars.
In a sentencing memorandum entered in a Manhattan court last Wednesday, prosecutors with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York urged a federal judge to jail Wiener for 21 to 27 months.
Weiner has shown a “dangerous level of denial” and “lack of self-control” that could put other teenagers at risk, the 11-page memorandum stated.
“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,” the prosecutors wrote. “The non-custodial sentence that Weiner proposes is simply inadequate; his crime deserves time in prison.”
Prosecutors urged the judge to consider how many times Weiner has engaged in widely publicized interactions with adult women.
“This is not merely a ‘sexting’ case. The defendant did far more than exchange typed words on a lifeless cellphone screen with a faceless stranger,” the prosecutors stated. “With full knowledge that he was communicating with a real 15-year-old girl, the defendant asked her to engage in sexually explicit conduct via Skype and Snapchat, where her body was on display, and where she was asked to sexually perform for him.
“That offense – transmitting obscenity to a minor to induce her to engage in sexually explicit conduct by video chat and photo – is far from mere ‘sexting,'” the memo continued. “Weiner’s criminal conduct was very serious, and the sentence imposed should reflect that seriousness.”
Prosecutors also argued that Weiner, who represented a New York congressional district for 12 years, is undeserving of leniency because he co-sponsored a January 2007 bill to requiring sex offenders to register their email and instant message addresses with the National Sex Offender Registry.
The public downfall of the once-rising Democratic political star began in 2011, when he was forced to resign from Congress after sending pictures of his private parts to a female college student and then tried to cover it up.
Weiner then doomed his 2013 bid for New York City mayor when he was caught sexting with 22-year-old Sydney Leathers. Weiner tried to resurrect his career by running for mayor in 2013 and surged to the lead in the polls.
Hillary Clinton claims Weiner’s woes cost her the presidency, tilting the election in Donald Trump’s favor. After Weiner’s relationship with the high school student became public, FBI agents discovered that Clinton’s emails had been forwarded to Weiner’s laptop, apparently by his wife.
The FBI concluded there was nothing new in the emails, but many political analysts believe it was a factor in the election, particularly in battlegrounds such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Clinton revealed in her new book “What Happened” that Abedin burst into tears after learning her husband had elicited Comey’s “October surprise.”
“When we heard this Huma looked stricken,” Clinton wrote. “Anthony had already caused so much heartache. And now this. ‘This man is going to be the death of me,’ (Huma) said, bursting into tears.”