Disgraced former U.S. representative Anthony Weiner, whose exchange of illicit messages with a teen wound up playing a critical role in the 2016 presidential election, was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison, authorities said.
The penalty marks a stunning downfall for the New York Democrat whose propensity for sending lewd photos to women repeatedly derailed his career in politics, and — in a roundabout way — might also have impacted Hillary Clinton’s bid to become president.
It was federal authorities’ investigation of Weiner that led them to emails of his wife, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and the discovery of those emails ultimately caused the FBI, on the eve of the election, to reopen the probe of Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Weiner pleaded guilty in May to transferring obscene material to a minor, stemming from interactions he had with a 15-year-old who later described them and released images to the Daily Mail.
Federal prosecutors had asked for a sentence between 21 and 27 months, while Wiener’s defense attorneys had argued for a penalty that did not include jailtime. Wiener’s defense attorneys cast him as a man with an addiction problem, and asserted the teen had reached out to him hoping to generate material for a book deal and to influence the presidential election.
Weiner apologized for what he had done.
“I am profoundly sorry to her,” he wrote in a letter to the court. “I was selfish. I have no excuse for what I did to her.”