Former New York representative Anthony Weiner was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15-year-old girl, in a case that rocked Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the White House in the closing days of the race.
Weiner, 53, dropped his head into his hand and wept as the sentence was announced by Judge Denise Cote in New York City. He must surrender to prison officials by Nov. 6.
The sentencing in Federal Court in New York City completed the sordid downfall of the New York Democrat, whose penchant for exchanging lewd messages and photos with young women online destroyed his career in Congress in 2011, doomed his bid for mayor of New York in 2013, wrecked his marriage to Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, and became entangled in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Admitting “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” Weiner pleaded guilty in May to transferring obscene material to a minor, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for illicit contact with a North Carolina teenager.
He sought to be spared from prison, tearfully telling Cote on Monday that he was “a very sick man for a very long time.” Weiner, weeping as he read from a written statement on a page he held in front of him, called his crime his “rock bottom.”
Prosecutors said he sent her porn and got her to take her clothes off and touch herself on Skype. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Kramer on Monday urged Cote to give Weiner a significant prison sentence to end his “tragic cycle” of sexting.
The FBI was investigating Weiner’s contact with the high school student when it came across emails on his laptop between Abedin and Clinton, prompting then FBI Director James Comey to announce in late October 2016 that he was reopening the probe of Clinton’s use of a private computer server.
‘Dangerous level of denial’
Two days before Election Day, the FBI announced there was nothing new in the emails. But Clinton has blamed Comey’s handling of the episode more than any other factor for her loss to Donald Trump. In a recent NBC interview, she called the FBI director’s intervention “the determining factor” in her defeat.
Weiner’s lawyers had argued in court papers that he was undergoing treatment and was profoundly sorry for subjecting the girl to his “deep sickness.”