Anthony Weiner, the former Congressman who pleaded guilty to sexting a teen in a scandal that re-opened an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails just days before the most contentious election in modern American history, is now blaming his downfall and illegal behavior on the teenager.
Weiner’s lawyers, who are asking that Weiner forego prison time and serve probation, described the girl as “a curious high school student, looking to generate material for a book the government has disclosed she is now shopping to publishers,” and that she sought “somehow to influence the US presidential election, in addition to securing personal profit.”
They said that Weiner, a 53-year-old man, “responded to the victim’s request for sexually explicit messages not because she was a teenager but in spite of it.”
Per the New York Times, they wrote that he “responded as a weak man, at the bottom of a self-destructive spiral, and with an addict’s self-serving delusion that the communications were all just internet fantasy—willfully ignoring that there was a young person at the other end of the connection, hundreds of miles away, who could be damaged by these exchanges through the ether.”
Weiner responded to the teen’s Twitter direct message in January 2016, striking up an online relationship during which he sent her sexually explicit text messages and photos, including an image of him in his underwear next to his toddler son. In a separate letter to the judge, Weiner wrote that his son “will forever have to answer questions about the public and private failings of his father.” He also expressed regret for the effect his actions had on his wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin noting that his numerous scandals “crushed the aspirations of my wife and ruined our marriage.”
The FBI’s investigation into Weiner’s underage relationship led to a discovery of emails between Abedin and Clinton on his laptop that re-opened the investigation on Clinton’s private email server just days before the election. Clinton has said that the announcement played a factor in her losing the election.
The judge will sentence Weiner on September 25 on one count of transferring obscene material to a minor, which carries a 10-year maximum sentence.