Anthony Weiner, once a congressman, faces jail as a sex offender

Once he was an ambitious New York congressman whose fiery speech from the House floor in support of 9/11 responders made him a nationally known champion of the little guy, and whose much-publicized romance with Hillary Clinton’s glamorous aide Huma Abedin boosted his Beltway bonafides.

Now, Anthony Weiner is a sick punchline.

On Monday the fallen Brooklyn lawmaker faces yet another public humiliation — and possibly two years in prison — when he is sentenced for sexting a 15-year-old girl.

16 PHOTOS
Anthony Weiner sexting scandal
See Gallery
Anthony Weiner sexting scandal
New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner attends a campaign event in the Rockaways section in the Queens borough of New York July 31, 2013. Weiner, 48, had surged into the lead in polls for the Democratic Party primary before revelations last week that he had sent more sexually explicit messages to at least one woman after he resigned and promised to change his behavior. REUTERS/Eric Thayer (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) announces his resignation June 16, 2011 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The resignation comes ten days after the congressman admitted to sending lewd photos of himself on Twitter to multiple women. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 12: A group of Congressman Anthony Weiner's constituents rally for his resignation outside his Kew Gardens office June 12, 2011 in the Queens borough of New York City. Weiner, who has refused to resign, requested a temporary leave of absence from the House of Representatives for professional treatment in the wake of his internet messaging scandal. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)
U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) announces that he will resign from the U.S. House of Representatives during a news conference in Brooklyn, New York, June 16, 2011. Weiner resigned on Thursday over a weeks-long Internet sex scandal, succumbing to bipartisan calls for him to step down. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
WASHINGTON - MAY 31: U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) speaks to the media regarding a lewd photo tweet May 31, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. A close-up photo of underwear of a man was tweeted from Weiner's Twitter account addressed to a college student in Seattle. The photo was deleted soon after and Weiner has claimed his account was hacked. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MAY 31: U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) leaves after he spoke to the media regarding a lewd photo tweet May 31, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. A close-up photo of underwear of a man was tweeted from Weiner's Twitter account addressed to a college student in Seattle. The photo was deleted soon after and Weiner has claimed his account was hacked. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Former porn actress Ginger Lee (L) and her attorney Gloria Allred (R) depart a news conference in New York, June 15, 2011. Lee said on Wednesday she had an e-mail relationship with embattled Representative Anthony Weiner and that he urged her to lie about their exchanges in the hope that a scandal surrounding him would die down. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)
Sydney Leathers, one of the women at the center of the scandal, spoke exclusively to Inside Edition about growing speculation that Donald Trump is planning to dredge up the sexting scandal all over again because Abedin is often regarded as Clinton's closest confidante. 
Huma Abedin, an aide to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C), is pictured during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this March 10, 2011 photograph. Abedin, the wife of U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY), ensnared in a sex scandal for sending lewd pictures of himself over the Internet, is pregnant, the New York Times reported on June 8, 2011. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 26: Anthony Weiner, a leading candidate for New York City mayor, pauses while speaking with reporters in Staten Island on a visit to homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy on July 26, 2013 in New York City. It was recently revealed that Weiner engaged in lewd online conversations with a woman after he resigned from Congress for similar previous incidents. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A Times Square newstand with local papers displaying headlines July 24, 2013 about the latest sexting scandal involving New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. Weiner on Tuesday admitted sending lewd texts and photographs under the moniker 'Carlos Danger' to a young woman after resigning from Congress over a similar scandal. According to news website 'The Dirty,' Weiner, 48, used the name to contact the woman on Facebook and establish an online relationship with her which involved the exchange of intimate photographs. In a statement from his campaign team, Weiner confirmed that the latest allegations were substantially true but tried to present them as having been covered by his previous confession. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
The ABC Good Morning America Times Square Ticker flashes news July 24, 2013 about the latest sexting scandal involving New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. Weiner on Tuesday admitted sending lewd texts and photographs under the moniker 'Carlos Danger' to a young woman after resigning from Congress over a similar scandal. According to news website 'The Dirty,' Weiner, 48, used the name to contact the woman on Facebook and establish an online relationship with her which involved the exchange of intimate photographs. In a statement from his campaign team, Weiner confirmed that the latest allegations were substantially true but tried to present them as having been covered by his previous confession. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
A Times Square newstand with local papers displaying headlines July 24, 2013 about the latest sexting scandal involving New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. Weiner on Tuesday admitted sending lewd texts and photographs under the moniker 'Carlos Danger' to a young woman after resigning from Congress over a similar scandal. According to news website 'The Dirty,' Weiner, 48, used the name to contact the woman on Facebook and establish an online relationship with her which involved the exchange of intimate photographs. In a statement from his campaign team, Weiner confirmed that the latest allegations were substantially true but tried to present them as having been covered by his previous confession. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Disgraced former US congressman Anthony Weiner, running for mayor of New York, fields questions at an after-hours event in the Chelsea district of New York city on August 12, 2013, organized by the Buzzfeed.com website. Opinion polls show Weiner lagging in the race for City Hall after he acknowledged that he kept on sending explicit Internet messages to women even after he resigned from Congress in a sexting scandal. AFP PHOTO / Robert MacPherson (Photo credit should read Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO -- New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin attend a news conference in New York, July 23, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer/File Photo
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"Although the defendant’s self-destructive path from United States Congressman to felon is indisputably sad, his crime is serious and his demonstrated need for deterrence is real," prosecutors argued in their filing last week. "The noncustodial sentence that Weiner proposes is simply inadequate; his crime deserves time in prison."

As part of his plea deal, Weiner already agreed not to appeal the prosecutors' recommendation of 21 to 27 months behind bars.

But in the court of public opinion, Weiner, 53, faces a life sentence of being forever known as the congressman who allowed his online sexual obsessions to derail his political career — and who inadvertently helped sabotage Clinton’s presidential campaign.

"What he did was pretty reprehensible by pretty much every standard and what made it worse was anybody could see it online," Robert Thompson, pop culture expert at Syracuse University, told NBC News. "Does he offer the public anything that would make anybody want to forgive him? I don’t know too many people who think that."

Related: Emails Related to Clinton Case Found in Anthony Weiner Investigation

Abedin, whose loyalty to Clinton and her husband was already the stuff of legends, stuck by her husband for years — up until the New York Post broke a story in August 2016 that Weiner was reportedly sexting again, and with a Donald Trump supporter no less. This, according to the paper, was happening while Abedin was campaigning with Clinton.

The following May, when Weiner pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal district court to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor, he was still wearing his wedding ring.

Tearfully he told the judge, "I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse."

Hours later, Abedin filed for divorce.

19 PHOTOS
Huma Abedin
See Gallery
Huma Abedin
Huma Abedin attends 'The Beguiled' screening in New York City, U.S. June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Top aide Huma Abedin (C), and Senior Policy Advisor Jake Sullivan (R) listen to U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (not pictured) at her concession speech to President-elect Donald Trump in New York, U.S.. November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton talks to staff members, including aide Huma Abedin (L), onboard her campaign plane in White Plains, New York, U.S. October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo FROM THE FILES PACKAGE "THE CANDIDATES" - SEARCH CANDIDATES FILES FOR ALL 90 IMAGES
New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin attend a news conference in New York, U.S. on July 23, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer/File Photo
Actress Meg Ryan, designer Christian Siriano and Huma Abedin attend the CFDA Fashion Awards in Manhattan, New York, U.S., June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (R) stands with with aide Huma Abedin after the conclusion of the Univision News and Washington Post Democratic U.S. presidential candidates debate in Kendall, Florida March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Huma Abedin, aide to Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, points as Mrs. Clinton waves to attendees at the conclusion of the second official 2016 U.S. Democratic presidential candidates debate in Des Moines, Iowa, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin walk away after an off-schedule stop at the "I'll Make Me a World in Iowa Celebration Day" in Des Moines, Iowa January 30, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Huma Abedin, aide to Hillary Clinton, delivers a statement after meeting with the House Select Committee on Benghazi at the U.S. Capitol in Washington October 16, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) (R) walks with her traveling chief-of-staff Huma Abedin as they approach a group of police officers after cancelling a rally in Fort Worth, Texas February 22, 2008. A Dallas police officer was killed Friday when his motorcycle struck a pillar as he was escorting democratic presidential candidate Senator Clinton to a rally in Dallas. Clinton cancelled the rally in Forth Worth, saying it would be inappropriate to hold a rally in light of the tragic circumstances. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Cleo Wade, Huma Abedin and Mia Moretti attend Prabal Gurung fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Gallery 2, Skylight Clarkson Sq on September 10, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images For NYFW: The Shows)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 22: Political staffer Huma Abedin attends 'The Beguiled' New York premiere at The Metrograph on June 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Huma Abedin attends the 'Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between' Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by J. Kempin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 05: (L-R) Barkha Dutt, Arianna Huffington, Tina Brown, Huma Abedin attend the Eighth Annual Women In The World Summit at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on April 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 16: Huma Abedin, aide to former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, arrives for an unveiling ceremony for the U.S. Postal Service Oscar de la Renta Forever stamp, at Grand Central Terminal, February 16, 2017 in New York City. A black and white stamp with De La Renta's portrait is included in the collection, in addition to ten other stamps featuring details from De La Renta designed dresses and gowns. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Huma Abedin, Priyanka Chopra, Diane Kruger, and Sarah Jessica Parker attend the Prabal Gurung collection during, New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Gallery 1, Skylight Clarkson Sq on February 12, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows)
CHAPPAQUA, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Huma Abedin, aide to Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, walks to the motorcade after Hillary voted at Douglas Grafflin Elementary School on November 8, 2016 in Chappaqua, New York. Hillary Clinton cast her ballot in the presidential election as the rest of America goes to the polls to decide between her and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - With New Jersey voters sitting at the counter, senior Hillary Clinton staffer Huma Abedin helps her boss Democratic Candidate for President former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton order during a quick stop at Omar's in Newark, New Jersey on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband," Abedin said in a statement. "Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life."

Will Abedin show up in court to witness the latest painful chapter in her husband’s downfall? It's anybody’s guess. But at a divorce court appearance earlier this month, they sat beside each other and there were no visible signs of acrimony.

That same day, Weiner's lawyers formally asked federal Judge Denise Cote that he be spared from prison, calling his behavior "inexcusable" but adding that he had made "remarkable progress" in dealing with his demons.

The disgraced former congressman also wrote a letter to the judge citing his "profound" regret for sexting the 15-year-old. "My continued acting out over the years crushed the aspirations of my wife and ruined our marriage," he wrote.

Related: Anthony Weiner Pleads Guilty in Teen Sexting Case, Wife Huma Abedin Files for Divorce

And, Weiner added, he has condemned his son to "forever have to answer questions about the public and private failings of his father."

Cote can tear up the plea deal and throw the book at Weiner if she chooses, said Hermann Walz, a professor of law and police science at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. But if she sends Weiner to prison, he won't be doing hard time.

"It will be at some low level, country club type facility," said Walz, a former Queens and Brooklyn prosecutor. "They’re not full lockdown. This is not Attica. He would be in a minimum security prison."

While convicted sex offenders like Weiner are considered the lowest of the low in prison and often find themselves to be targets, he probably won’t have to worry about that.

"He'll be with non-violent felons," Walz said. "They tend to behave better there."

When Weiner gets out, he likely faces more restrictions on his freedom.

If the judge deems him a Level 1 or a Level 2 sex offender, Weiner will have to live with that label for at least 20 years. If the judge deems him a Level 3, he’ll be a registered sex offender for life, required to notify the police every time he moves and barred from schools and other places children congregate.

Weiner may also find himself barred from the scene of his crime — the internet.

"That is strictly up to the judge," Walz said. "She could say, 'I'm going to let you out but never go on the internet again.'"

Formerly a rising star in the Democratic Party, Weiner had represented his constituents in Brooklyn and Queens for almost a dozen years and was a protégé of New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. He fancied himself a rough and tumble regular guy who played hockey and loved to spar with critics and gab with reporters.

Related: Anthony Weiner Probed by Feds in New York for Alleged Sexts to Teen

Weiner drew national attention in 2010 when he ripped into House Republicans for "cowardly" killing a bill to provide $7.4 billion in aid for 9/11 first responders for "procedural reasons."

"It’s Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes," Weiner yelled at the time. "It's a shame. A shame!"

While Weiner was considered one of Washington’s most eligible bachelors, Abedin was Clinton’s most-trusted and glamorous aide — and reportedly considered by many in the Clinton camp to be way out of Weiner’s league.

Abedin was also not impressed when she met Weiner for the first time in 2001 at a Democratic National Committee retreat on Martha’s Vineyard.

"Our recollection is not identical," Abedin said in an August 2016 interview with Vogue, one of the few times she has lifted the veil on her failed marriage. "But we both remember that I ordered tea, and then left to use the ladies' room, and then never came back. That was our first meeting."

But Weiner persisted and they married in 2010. A year later, it all came crashing down after Weiner accidentally sent a crotch shot of himself via Twitter to a Seattle college student.

At first, Weiner insisted he had been hacked. But that first filthy photo was followed by more seamy shots of the congressman.

Finally, Weiner came clean but he refused to resign — even after he was rebuked by President Barack Obama. It wasn’t until House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi threatened to strip him of his committee assignments that Weiner finally threw in the towel.

Abedin, who was pregnant at the time, stuck by him.

After claiming to have undergone therapy, Weiner ran for mayor of New York City in 2013 and asked voters to giving him a second chance. But his campaign was derailed by revelations that he was still sexting women and using the pseudonym "Carlos Danger."

Weiner was trounced in the mayoral primary, but it didn’t strip him of his chutzpah — or stop him from sexting.

In September 2016, NBC and other news organizations confirmed that Weiner was under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan "for alleged sexts to a 15-year-old girl that allegedly included pornographic videos, requests for nudity and requests for masturbation."

Weiner’s handle this time was "T Dog." And those X-rated online exchanges first surfaced when the teen sold her story to a British tabloid for $30,000.

Then in October, as the brutal presidential campaign was heading into the final weeks, the FBI seized Weiner’s laptop and then announced they had found a new batch of emails on a computer that "appear to be pertinent" to a previous investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server while she was secretary of state.

Clinton, in her new book, has called then-FBI Director James Comey’s decision to reopen the investigation just 11 days before the election "the determining factor" in her loss to Donald Trump.

Could Weiner ever make a comeback? Thompson thinks not.

"Mel Gibson had a bunch of scandals and then he made 'Hacksaw Ridge.' Donald Trump said a lot of things that people found very offensive and he was elected president," Thompson said. "There are people like Paris Hilton who make a sex tape and suddenly they have a career."

But Weiner's big sin is that "he’s gotten into trouble multiple times and didn't seem to learn his lesson," Thompson said.

"Plus, as any stand-up comic will tell you, Weiner has that name. Weiner. It shouldn’t be an issue, but it is an issue." For comics, Thompson said, “it's low-hanging fruit."

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.