According to federal authorities, former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner transferred obscene material to the 15-year-old girl, including directions to engage in sexual conduct and sexually explicit images.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Disgraced former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner on Friday in Manhattan federal court put the bow on a spectacular descent from professional and personal prominence as he was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, one count of transferring obscenity to a minor.
And according to several published reports, Weiner’s estranged wife, Huma Abedin, officially filed for divorce that same day. The couple has a 5-year-old son, Jordan.
Weiner, 52, posted the $150,000 bond bail and was ordered to return to court in September for sentencing. While the charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, Weiner is likely facing anywhere from 21 to 27 months in a federal correctional facility. He also will have to register as a sex offender when he is released.
“Weiner’s conduct was not only reprehensible, but a federal crime, one for which he is now convicted and will be sentenced,” said acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim.
According to court records, between January and March 2016, Weiner used online messaging and video chat applications to communicate with a minor girl he knew to be 15 years old. In the course of those communications, Weiner transferred obscene material to the North Carolina teen, including directions to engage in sexual conduct and sexually explicit images.
Weiner addressed the packed courtroom on Friday.
“This fall, I came to grips for the first time with the depths of my sickness. I had hit bottom. I entered intensive treatment, found the strength to take a moral inventory of my defects, and began a program of recovery and mental health treatment that I continue to follow every day,” he said. “I accept full responsibility for my conduct. I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse. I apologize to everyone I have hurt. I apologize to the teenage girl, whom I mistreated so badly. I am committed to making amends to all those I have harmed. Thank you.”
Weiner’s precipitous public fall began in the summer of 2009, when he accidentally mass-tweeted a crotch-selfie instead of messaging an image of his member directly to the intended target: a Seattle college student. Initially, the former Forest Hills resident claimed he had been hacked. However, after a self-imposed two-week leave of absence, the seven-term congressman decided to resign and step down from the 9th District seat.
Weiner returned to the political fray in 2013 to run for mayor. His promising campaign was derailed when fresh sexts and compromising photos – sent under the bizarre alias “Carlos Danger” – forced Weiner to once again abandon his career in public service. He finished fifth in the race.