Just this past Monday, former congressman Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in prison and three years supervised release for sexting a 15 year old girl. Weiner, 53, was at one time a promising politician, and had hopes of being mayor of New York City, which he ran for in 2013 for two months before dropping out due to a separate sexting scandal. He was also close friends to many prominent public servants, such as the Clintons and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose office he had worked in for several years.
“I was a very sick man for a very long time,” said an emotional Weiner before sentencing. Weiner is a sex addict, and his defense argued for probation due to this illness, in hopes of receiving intensive treatment instead of incarceration. The defense also argued that the girl contacted him first, and that he did not demonstrate the sure signs of pedophilia- he never tried to meet her in person, and was not a collector of child pornography.
On the contrary, Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York believed it irrelevant that the girl contacted Weiner first, and that sentencing should be harsh due to his his prominent past in politics. “Because of the defendant’s notoriety, there is intense interest in the defendant’s plea and sentence. It could make a difference in lives and is a very significant part of this sentence. This is a serious crime that deserves serious punishment. She was a minor. She was a victim. She’s entitled to the law’s full protection.” said Cote.
Weiner was convicted on the charges of transferring obscene material to a minor, to which he plead guilty. The girl, a 15 year old high-school student from North Carolina, initially contacted the former congressman via a direct Twitter message in January of 2016. From there, prosecutors said Weiner “participated in increasingly suggestive exchanges,” knowing all the while that the girl was underage. Communication between the two continued on Twitter, among other apps and sites such as Skype, Snapchat, Kik, Facebook Messenger, and Confide. On these apps, under the alias “T-Dog”, he asked her to perform sexual acts and send sexually explicit photos. Weiner sent back pornography as well.
This was not the once-promising politician’s first time being in the public eye due to his sexual conquests. After accidentally tweeting a photo of his crotch in 2011, which was the cause of his resignation from Congress, Weiner attempted to redeem himself with a run for mayor of NYC in 2013. After two months, it was revealed that he was sexting a woman using the moniker “Carlos Danger”, and the circulation of these sexts in the media led to a withdrawal of his candidacy. This most recent scandal was the fatal blow that transformed Weiner from not only a disgraced and perverted office-holder to a convicted criminal.
“I was the adult…if I had done the right thing, I would not be standing before you today,” said Weiner, while crying and clutching a tissue. This past May, his wife filed for divorce, and as he was receiving his sentencing, neither she nor any of the prominent friends he had made during his time as a public servant were there to support him.