Former US Representative Anthony Weiner has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for sending sexually explicit messages to a 15-year-old girl, setting off a scandal that played a role in the 2016 US presidential election.
Weiner, 53, started to cry as the sentence was announced by US District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan. His wife Huma Abedin, an aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, was not in the courtroom and has filed for divorce.
He pleaded guilty in May to transferring obscene material to a minor, and agreed he would not appeal any sentence of 27 months or less.
“I was a very sick man for a very long time, but I’m also responsible for the damage I have done,” Weiner read from a statement in court before he was sentenced. He said he was being treated, and asked Cote to spare him prison and sentence him to probation so he could continue treatment.
Weiner’s lawyer, Arlo Devlin-Brown, said that while Weiner exchanged sexually explicit messages with many women, all of the others were adults.
Cote said she believed Weiner was suffering from an addiction, and was serious about being treated. However, she said it was important to deter others from committing similar crimes.
The investigation into Weiner’s exchanges with a North Carolina high school student roiled the 2016 US presidential campaign in its final days, when authorities found emails on Weiner’s laptop from his wife.
The discovery of the emails prompted James Comey, then director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to announce in late October that the agency was reopening its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was US secretary of state.
Clinton has said the announcement contributed to her upset loss to Republican Donald Trump, who had accused her of endangering national security by using the private server.