Girl Weiner sexted wanted to af­fect elec­tion, say lawyers

Nelson Mail - - WORLD -

UNITED STATES: Dis­graced for­mer New York con­gress­man An­thony Weiner is no preda­tor and should be spared from prison at his sen­tenc­ing for sex­ting with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl who dreamed about af­fect­ing the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, his lawyers have told a judge.

The sub­mis­sion in Man­hat­tan fed­eral court ref­er­enced ‘‘An­thony’s op­er­atic self-de­struc­tion’', de­scrib­ing the crime as ‘‘the fi­nal act ... born of deep sick­ness’'. But it blamed the girl, say­ing she has told gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tors it had been a goal of hers to af­fect last year’s elec­tion.

The court fil­ing in­cluded let­ters from Weiner and his es­tranged wife, Hil­lary Clin­ton aide Huma Abe­din, who ap­peared with him in state court ear­lier in the day at a di­vorce pro­ceed­ing, look­ing more like a cou­ple than not.

In a heav­ily blacked-out let­ter, Abe­din wrote: ‘‘With An­thony, I have re­peat­edly found my­self in cir­cum­stances I never imag­ined. I am dev­as­tated by An­thony’s ac­tions, and I un­der­stand he must face their con­se­quences.’'

The lawyers de­scribed Weiner, a once pow­er­ful Demo­crat, as hav­ing com­mit­ted a crime, though ‘‘one far less egre­gious than any sex­ting case that has been pros­e­cuted in this district’'.

They said he never sought out teenagers on the in­ter­net and didn’t en­gage in other preda­tory be­hav­iours typ­i­cal of those ar­rested in sim­i­lar cases.

‘‘He re­sponded to the vic­tim’s re­quest for sex­u­ally ex­plicit mes­sages not be­cause she was a teenager but in spite of it,’' the lawyers said.

The lawyers said Weiner had caught the eye of ‘‘a cu­ri­ous high school stu­dent, look­ing to gen­er­ate ma­te­rial for a book the gov­ern­ment has dis­closed she is now shopping to pub­lish­ers’'. They said the girl doc­u­mented their in­ter­ac­tions from the out­set, pho­tograph­ing her phone to pre­serve mes­sages, be­fore sell­ing her story to a Bri­tish tabloid for US$30,000.

The lawyers said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Weiner was ‘‘quite im­prop­erly in­jected into the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, quite pos­si­bly af­fect­ing its out­come’'.

‘‘Af­ter the elec­tion was over, the high school stu­dent told gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tors that this had been one of her goals from the out­set,’' Weiner’s lawyers wrote.

The girl told Inside Edi­tion in an in­ter­view she knew that Clin­ton, a Demo­cratic for­mer US sec­re­tary of state, se­na­tor and first lady, would be run­ning for pres­i­dent last year.

‘‘I wanted to see if An­thony was still up to the same an­tics,’' she said.

In a let­ter to US District Judge Denise Cote, who will sen­tence Weiner on Septem­ber 25, Weiner wrote that ‘‘re­gret for my crime is pro­found’' and that he had en­dan­gered the well­be­ing of a 15-year-old girl.

‘‘My con­tin­ued act­ing out over years crushed the as­pi­ra­tions of my wife and ru­ined our mar­riage,’' he said.

Hours ear­lier, Weiner and Abe­din ap­peared briefly be­fore a judge in their di­vorce case. They sat side by side and chat­ted ca­su­ally while their lawyers met with state Supreme Court Jus­tice Michael L Katz. - AP

An­thony Weiner

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