Disgraced politician Anthony Weiner was sentenced to nearly two years in prison on Monday for sexting with a teenager from North Carolina, capping off the tumultuous tale of Carlos Danger with a stay behind bars that many have argued is far too light for the crime.
Weiner was no stranger to controversy: his congressional seat, his bid to become mayor of New York City, his strained marriage, and potentially even Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign were all tarred in scandal thanks to Weiner’s inability to stop exchanging lewd photos and messages with women he met online.
“I acted not only unlawfully but immorally, and if I had done the right thing, I would not be standing before you today,” a weeping Weiner told the judge. “The prosecutors are skeptical that I have truly changed and I don’t blame them. I repeatedly acted in an obviously destructive way when I was caught.”
News of Weiner’s salacious relationship with the teenage girl first broke in September 2016. With the presidential election looming just weeks away, the FBI discovered a trove of emails on Weiner’s laptop belonging to Clinton confidant Huma Abedin when they went searching for evidence of the sexting scandal.
That discovery led then-FBI Director James Comey to re-open the inquiry into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as U.S. secretary of state. Clinton has long blamed Comey’s decision as one of the key reasons why she lost the election to Donald Trump despite strong polling numbers.
While Judge Denise L. Cote noted that Weiner’s offense was “a serious crime that deserves serious punishment,” she sided with the defense’s argument that Weiner was finally undergoing effective treatment for sex addiction. He was handed the minimum recommended sentence for the crime, as well as a $10,000 fine, and must surrender on November 6.
Weiner’s lawyers had requested probation, citing their client’s “remarkable progress” in treating his mental health problems, but federal prosecutors lambasted the request.
“Although the defendant’s self-destructive path from United States congressman to felon is indisputably sad, his crime is serious and his demonstrated need for deterrence is real,” wrote prosecutors Amanda Kramer and Stephanie Lake.