Former New York Representative Anthony Weiner has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for sexting with a minor.
On top of incarceration, the disgraced politician will have to serve three years of supervised release upon his return to society.
The judge responsible for handing down the verdict, Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York, said that Weiner’s sentence was influenced by his political past.
“Because of the defendant’s notoriety, there is intense interest in the defendant’s plea and sentence,” Cote said in court. “It could make a difference in lives and is a very significant part of this sentence.”
“This is a serious crime that deserves serious punishment,” Cote added.
According to CNN coverage, Weiner – who is the estranged husband of longtime Hillary Clinton adviser Huma Abedin – cried when the verdict was handed down.
Despite seeming to accept responsibility for his actions, Weiner’s attorney indicated disappointment at the heavy sentence.
“We are of course disappointed that Anthony was sentenced to prison, particularly so given that Judge Cote found that the treatment program Anthony had engaged in for the past year was showing great promise and should be continued,” said Weiner’s lawyer, Arlo Devlin-Brown. “Judge Cote reasoned that because of Anthony notoriety, a sentence of imprisonment could discourage others from following in his footsteps. We certainly hope this public service message is received, but it has resulted in a punishment more severe than it had to be given the unusual facts and circumstances of this case.”
Anthony Weiner exits federal courthouse, after receiving 21 month sentence for transmitting obscene material to a minor. He said nothing. pic.twitter.com/2D4U88bRbq
— Laura Nahmias (@nahmias) September 25, 2017
The 53-year old Weiner plead guilty to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor in May.
The charges arise from a series of conversations the former politician had with a 15-year old girl between January and March of 2016.
Judge Cote noted that, during that time, Weiner was in “in contact with 19 other women.” That fact had been used by the defense to demonstrate that Weiner did not have an abnormal or unusual interest in teenagers, despite the young age of the girl he’d been sexting.
“This crime was rock-bottom,” Weiner said in court. “I have no excuse… I victimized a young person who deserved better.”
CNN notes that the crime carries a penalty of up to ten years imprisonment.
Prosecutors suggested a sentence of between 21 and 27 months in jail, saying that Weiner’s behavioral history “suggests a dangerous level of denial and lack of self-control warranting a meaningful incarceratory sentence.”
Weiner will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release.
The correspondence between Weiener and the 15-year old girl allegedly began after she direct-messaged him on Twitter. After engaging in a back-and-forth, the two began talking on other social media websites, including Facebook, Skype, Kik, and Snapchat.
Although Weiner was aware of the girl’s age, he still requested that she send inappropriate photographs and sexually “perform” for him over Skype Video Chat.
Weiner and Huma Abedin divorced in the aftermath of another sexting scandal, in which it emerged that Weiner had been messaging a number of other women during their marriage.