-- Sexting with an underage girl, disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner argued in a new court filing, was the product of a “deep sickness” and not an “abnormal sexual interest in teenagers.”
In a submission on Wednesday to the judge who will sentence Weiner later this month, his attorneys requested no prison time, calling his offense “far less egregious than any sexting case that has been prosecuted in this district.”
Weiner, 53, pleaded guilty in May to one count of sending obscene material to a minor, a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. As part of his plea agreement, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York suggested a prison term of about two years.
The case — revealed by the Daily Mail, which paid the girl $30,000 for her story — inadvertently factored into the presidential election and the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. When agents searched Weiner’s laptop, they found Clinton-related emails from his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide, prompting then–FBI Director James Comey to announce in October that he reopened the investigation.
Weiner’s sentencing submission included a personal history of his behavior. “Adulation from strangers,” the memo said, “allowed Anthony to avoid grappling with his emotional deficits — at least until his career and personal life crashed down spectacularly.”
The document was filed the same day Weiner, who represented a New York congressional district for 12 years, appeared in a different court for a divorce proceeding with Abedin. She filed for divorce the day of his guilty plea but still wrote in support of his bid for leniency.
“This is not a letter I ever imagined I would write but with Anthony I have repeatedly found myself in circumstances I never imagined,” she wrote in a letter to the judge included with the sentencing submission.
Abedin announced her separation from Weiner in August 2016. The two married in 2010, and in June 2011 he resigned from Congress, a month after the release of an explicit photo of him that he inadvertently posted on his Twitter account. At the time, she was pregnant their son, who was born in December 2011. He ran for mayor of New York in 2013 — a bid scuttled by a similar sexting scandal.
“A term of imprisonment would bring Anthony’s indisputably successful treatment for the sickness underlying his crime to an immediate and complete halt and separate Anthony from the son who has motivated his recovery,” defense attorneys wrote.
In his letter to the judge, Weiner said, “My regret for my crime is profound.”