Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin at divorce proceedings on Sept. 13
Jefferson Siegel / AP
Anthony Weiner broke down in tears as he was sentenced to 21 months in prison by a federal judge in New York City on Monday after the disgraced former congressman admitted to sexting with an underage teen girl.
The judge ordered he turn himself in on Nov. 6. He was also sentenced to three years supervised release and must pay $10,000 fine.
While sentencing Weiner, Judge Denise Cote said, “This is a serious crime that deserves serious punishment.”
Weiner went on to make a tearful statement, saying, “I have a disease but I do not have an excuse.”
“If I had done the right thing I would not be standing before you today,” he added, saying, “The crime I committed was my rock bottom.”
“I was a very sick man for a very long time,” Weiner said.
The 52-year-old former Queens representative pled guilty in May to sending lewd messages to a 15-year-old girl between January and March last year, including sexually explicit images and directions to engage in sexual conduct.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors had sought a prison sentence of between 21 and 27 months, but Weiner’s lawyers had argued he should have received a sentence of probation.
” Justice demands that this type of conduct be prosecuted and punished with time in prison. Today, Anthony Weiner received a just sentence that was appropriate for his crime,” Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said.
Monday’s decision marks an end to the criminal case that rocked US politics just days away from the 2016 presidential election, when former FBI Director James Comey briefly reopened the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server after agents investigating Weiner found emails from the Democratic candidate on a computer belonging to him and his wife — a top Clinton aide — Huma Abedin. The former secretary of state has blamed that decision, in part, for her stunning defeat to President Donald Trump.
It also represents yet another humiliating low for Weiner, a once-popular and charismatic politician whose promising congressional career and 2013 campaign for New York City mayor were undone by his online behavior: accidentally tweeting an image of his bulging crotch, sexting with a woman while using the pseudonym Carlos Danger, the publication of a photo he sent to another woman in which his young son could be seen in bed next to him, and, finally, the revelation he had sexted with an underage girl.
His actions have also cost him his family, with Abedin filing for divorce last year when the picture of their son in bed was splashed across the cover of the New York Post in August 2016.
“I accept full responsibility for my conduct,” a tearful Weiner told the court in May as he pled guilty. “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse.”
Weiner leaving court in May.
Mary Altaffer / AP
The teenage girl first contacted Weiner via Twitter in January 2016, with their conversations becoming increasingly sexual. At one stage, Weiner sent the teen pornography, while he also used Skype and Snapchat to ask the girl touch herself for him, which she did. After their conversations stopped, the girl eventually sold her story to DailyMail.com, which published screenshots of the pair’s conversations.
While careful not to be seen to be blaming the teen for Weiner’s actions, his lawyers argued the girl was motivated by a desire to profit and to influence the election.
“That argument should be rejected,” prosecutors urged the court, “and Weiner should be sentenced for what he did – not what motivated the Minor Victim.”
Interviewed by BuzzFeed News prior to the election, the teenage girl and her father both said they did not support Donald Trump. The girl described herself as a “big fan” of the Clintons and said she would to move to Germany if Trump were elected. Since the election, she has shared anti-Trump memes on her Facebook account.
She and her father also said they were upset with Comey's public announcement.
“The last thing that I wanted was to have this become political propaganda,” she said.
“Why couldn’t your letter have waited until after the election, so I would not have to be the center of attention the last week of the election cycle?” she wrote in an open letter to Comey.
Andrew Burton / Getty Images
Weiner's lawyers had argued his “hunger for the adulation of strangers” came about in part to “[mask] emotional deficits with roots in his childhood” caused by the “troubled behavior of his elder brother.”
The disgraced politician has since received treatment at facility for sex addicts after he said he hit “rock bottom.”
“I entered intensive treatment, found the courage to take a moral inventory of my defects, and began a program of recovery and mental health treatment that I continue to follow every day,” he said in May.
But prosecutors had warned the judge to be skeptical of Weiner's “claimed enlightenment and post-conduct rehabilitation” given his “widely-reported prior scandals.”
“Weiner’s demonstrated history of professed, yet failed, reform make it difficult to rely on his present claim of self-awareness and transformation,” they wrote.