NEW YORK, N.Y. — Former Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner was sentenced on Monday to 21 months in prison for sexting a 15-year-old girl.
The estranged husband of Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin walked silently into a Manhattan Federal Court, refusing to comment to a sea of reporters as he awaited his fate. Weiner, 53, pled guilty in May to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor and had faced up to 10 years in prison.
Inside the courthouse, Weiner cried as prosecutors read aloud the allegations against him.
“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,” they said.
“I was a very sick man for a very long time,” Weiner said as he addressed the court. “I acted not only unlawfully but immorally, and if I had done the right thing, I would not be standing before you today.”
“The prosecutors are skeptical that I have truly changed and I don’t blame them,” he continued. “I repeatedly acted in an obviously destructive way when I was caught. I victimized a young person who deserved better. I am not asking that I be trusted … I ask you for the opportunity on probation to keep my sworn oath.”
But the Federal Judge assigned to hear the case, Denise L. Cote, turned a deaf ear to Weiner’s pleas for leniency, telling the former Congressman that what he did was “a serious crime that deserves serious punishment.”
Although Cote praised Weiner’s decision to seek treatment for sex addiction after his arrest last May, she said she remains concerned that Weiner may offend once again.
“The difficulty here,” Judge Cote said, “is that this is a very strong compulsion.” It was so strong, she added, that despite “two very public disclosures and the destruction of his career on two occasions, he continued with the activity.”
In their recommendation to the court, Federal prosecutors demanded jail time in lieu of probation.
“Although the defendant’s self-destructive path from United States congressman to felon is indisputably sad,” the prosecutors wrote, “his crime is serious and his demonstrated need for deterrence is real.”
The judge concurred and sentenced Weiner to 21 months. In addition to the prison term, Weiner was sentenced to three years of supervised release, given a $10,000 fine, and was required to forfeit his iPhone. He was ordered to surrender to prison on Nov. 6.
Shortly after Weiner’s sentencing was announced, acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim issued a statement reading:
“Anthony Weiner, a former Congressman and candidate for Mayor, asked a girl who he knew to be 15 years old to display her naked body and engage in sexually explicit behavior for him online. 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.”