At one time, before sexually explicit text messages led to his career ruin and put him on the path to a 21-month sentence in federal prison for sending messages and photos to a 15-year-old girl, Anthony Weiner was a New York City politician on the rise.
A New York City native, Weiner, 53, spent six years in his 20s as an aide to then-U.S. Representative Chuck Schumer. In 1991, at age 27, he was elected to the New York City Council and served seven years. He then ran for Congress himself, winning seven terms as a Democrat representing New York’s 9th Congressional District, which covered Brooklyn and Queens at the time.
He suffered his first electoral setback when he failed in his 2005 bid to become New York City mayor. But he retained his congressional seat, and in 2010, he married Huma Abedin, a longtime personal aide to Hillary Clinton, in a ceremony officiated by former President Bill Clinton. In 2011 the couple welcomed a son.
That same year, however, revelations that he used his public Twitter account to forward a link to a headless but sexually explicit photo of himself — and his subsequent press conference admission that he had “exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with six women” over the preceding three years — began a protracted downfall.
He left Congress in disgrace, and after a self-imposed penance, he tried for a political comeback with a 2013 run again for New York City Mayor, and he opened up his campaign to filmmakers making the documentary Weiner.
Along the way — and while the filmmakers watched —a fresh sexting scandal broke in July 2013. Using the alias “Carols Danger,” Weiner received explicit photos from a woman with whom he’d been in contact as recently as April of that year.
In August 2016, after the revelation of a texting exchange with still another woman – including a photo he sent of himself while lying with his young son in bed — Abedin issued a statement saying, “After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband.”
Subsequent criminal charges concluded that on Jan. 23, 2016, a teen girl initiated contact with Weiner and “early on” told him that she was a high school student,” according to prosecutors.
Between Feb. 17 and 23, 2016, Weiner and the teen participated in three video chat sessions on Skype, and “it was then that the minor victim made clear that she was not just a minor — she was in fact, only 15 years old,” prosecutors wrote in court papers. “That did not stop Weiner.”
Their interactions continued intermittently through March 2016 over Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and the confidential messaging apps Kik, Confide and Snapchat.
Prosecutors said Weiner coaxed the girl to get naked and fondle herself, which he watched over Skype and via Snapchat, according to a pre-sentencing memo filed last Wednesday.
“During the latter two Skype sessions, on February 18 and 23, 2016, and in a Snapchat communication on March 9, 2016, the defendant used graphic and obscene language to ask the Minor Victim to display her naked body and touch herself, which she did, prosecutors stated.”
Weiner pleaded guilty in May to a single count of transferring obscene material to a minor.
RELATED VIDEO: Huma Abedin Files for Divorce from Anthony Weiner
The exchanges led the FBI to seize Weiner‘s computer. Subsequently, former FBI Director James Comey made his bombshell announcement shortly before Election Day 2016 that the FBI had uncovered emails belonging to Abedin on Weiner’s computer that appeared to be “pertinent” to the email investigation involving then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Comey announced that the FBI was re-opening its investigation into Clinton’s emails, which Clinton has said contributed to her defeat.
Just 36 hours before the election, Comey announced there was nothing new in this batch of emails and that the FBI would not seek charges against the Democratic nominee.
“Well, great. Too little, too late,” Clinton wrote in her new best-selling memoir, What Happened. “The rest is history.”
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote addressed Weiner at sentencing, telling him, “This is a serious crime that deserves serious punishment.” When she handed down the sentence, Weiner, who held his face in his left hand, began sobbing.
Prior to his sentencing, Weiner cried while reading a written statement, saying in part, “The crime I committed was my rock bottom,” adding, “I was a very sick man for a long time.”
Last spring Abedin announced her intent to file for divorce and to seek sole custody of the couple’s son.