Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, “deserves time in prison” for his conviction of sending obscene material to a minor, prosecutors argued in papers filed Wednesday, in which they urge a federal judge to stick with the government’s proposed sentence of 21 to 27 months.
Weiner, who also made a failed bid for New York City mayor in 2013, is scheduled on Sept. 25 to appear for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York.
In May, he pleaded guilty to sending lewd texts to a 15-year-old female, admitting that he also encouraged her to take part in “sexually explicit conduct.” He faced 10 years in prison, but was offered the 21 to 27-month range as part of a plea deal in which he agreed not to appeal.
On the same day he pleaded guilty, Weiner’s wife, ex-Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, filed for divorce. She submitted a letter for Weiner’s criminal case asking for a sentence that would not have a “negative impact” on the couple’s son.
In papers submitted last week, Weiner argued that he should get probation, saying that he committed the crime while his “judgment was clouded with disease” and that he has sought treatment.
The sexting scandal became public in September 2016 after the victim sold her story to the Daily Mail for $30,000, according to court papers.
Weiner argues that this was “injected” into the U.S. presidential race underway at the time—when his wife was still working with Clinton—”quite possibly affecting its outcome,” which Weiner said that his victim told government investigators was her goal.
But prosecutors fired back in their sentencing submission that he should be sentenced for his acts, not by what motivated his victim to contact him.
“This is not merely a ‘sexting’ case,” the prosecutors’ sentencing submission stated. “The defendant did far more than exchange typed words on a lifeless cellphone screen with a faceless stranger.”
Regarding Weiner’s “claimed enlightenment” since the latest fallout, prosecutors cited Weiner’s previous sexting scandals: he resigned from Congress in 2011 after admitting that he sent an explicit photo of himself via Twitter and, while running for New York City mayor in 2013, it was revealed that he continued sexting women.
The aftermath of the third scandal follows the same pattern as the previous two—he initially denied his conduct, suffered personal and professional consequences, publicly apologized and “claimed reform.”
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amanda Kramer and Stephanie Lake are prosecuting the case.
Covington & Burling partner Arlo Devlin-Brown and Erin Monju, an associate with the firm, represent Weiner.