Prosecutors recommend that former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner deserves approximately two years in prison for explicit sexual communications with a 15-year-old girl. According to a court filing Wednesday, produced ahead of next week’s sentencing, prosecutors are seeking 21-27 months of incarceration for the disgraced politician.
Weiner was caught in September 2016, after being outed by the young girl with whom he’d been exchanging X-rated texts. Taking $30,000 in compensation, the teen told her tale to the British paper, Daily Mail.
Weiner pleaded guilty in May to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor. He faces up to 10 years in prison for the crime, yet under the plea deal, the range may be between 21 to 27 months, as prosecutors recommended, after Weiner agreed not to appeal.
As justification for a lighter punishment, prosecutors noted that Weiner never attempted to meet the teenager or other minors and that he hadn’t been seeking child pornography online. However, in arguing for some prison time, they said the case went well beyond “sexting,” with the girl disrobing during video sessions.
In a submission last week, Weiner ‘s defense lawyers argued he should be spared jail time altogether, considering the teenager he victimized wanted to write a tell-all book and had hoped to influence the presidential election.
On Monday, U.S. Attorneys urged the judge not to let Weiner off the hook. In their filing, they cited a “dangerous level of denial and lack of self-control.” They say a non-custodial sentence is inadequate, stating, “His crime deserves time in prison.”
“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,” prosecutors wrote.
“The defendant did far more than exchange typed words on a lifeless cellphone screen with a faceless stranger,” prosecutors continued. “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.”
Prosecutors have asked the judge to consider Weiner’s prior scandals as proof that he’s had trouble rehabilitating himself.
“Weiner’s demonstrated [a] history of professed, yet failed, reform [makes] it difficult to rely on his present claim of self-awareness and transformation,” they wrote.
In 2011, Weiner accidentally sent a picture of his naked “member” via Twitter to a college student. When more photos surfaced, he resigned from Congress. He returned two years later, mounting a campaign for New York City mayor while still-married to Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton. He failed, as it was revealed that he still had a sexting habit.
In a letter to the judge penned by Weiner himself, the disgraced former lawmaker acknowledged that he had endangered the 15-year-old victim, but says he’s already paid for his crimes with his marriage.
“My continued acting out over years crushed the aspirations of my wife and ruined our marriage,” he wrote
Weiner is currently in the middle of a divorce from Abedin. She and Clinton are both at the center of the controversy surrounding sloppy handling of e-mails and correspondence during the time that Clinton was serving the nation as the secretary of state.
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