NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Weiner arrived at a New York courthouse Monday morning to be scheduled in a sexting scandal that some blame for Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss.
The former New York congressman faces up to 27 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor. Prosecutors say he broke the law by having illicit contact with a 15-year-old girl, including asking her to “sexually perform” for him in conversations on Skype and Snapchat.
The Democrat’s obsessive sexting habit not only destroyed his career in the U.S. House, but it also doomed his campaign for mayor and his marriage to Huma Abedin, a former aide to Hillary Clinton. It also became an issue in the 2016 presidential election when then-FBI Director James Comey cited emails discovered on a laptop used by Weiner to justify reopening the earlier probe of Clinton’s private computer server just days before the election.
Lawyers for the 53-year-old Weiner have said in court papers that he’s undergoing treatment and is profoundly sorry for subjecting the North Carolina high school student to what his lawyers called his “deep sickness.” They also portrayed the girl as an instigator, saying she wanted to generate material for a book and possibly influence the presidential election.
Prosecutors responded that Weiner should be sentenced to up to two years prison for what he did, and his victim’s motives should not influence his punishment. They urged the judge to put Weiner’s claims of a therapeutic awakening in the context of a man who made similar claims after embarrassing, widely publicized interactions with adult women before encountering the teenager online in January 2016.
The conduct “suggests a dangerous level of denial and lack of self-control,” they said.
More than any other factor, Clinton has blamed her loss on the timing of Comey’s announcement that he was reopening her email case. The FBI concluded there was nothing new in the emails, but Clinton called his intervention “the determining factor” in her loss in a recent NBC interview promoting her new campaign memoir.