Anthony Weiner—star of the tragic tale of hubris Weiner that, holy shit, is a documentary and really happened—has pled guilty to sending sexually explicit text messages to a minor, The New York Times reports. The plea brings to an end an embarrassing personal scandal that became a surprisingly impactful political one, after it prompted a renewed FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails days ahead of the 2016 election, potentially influencing a victory for Donald Trump, and forcing future high-school history teachers to try explaining “the Weiner incident” to classrooms of snickering teens, before just quitting to go work in the vodka factories.
As documented in the film, Weiner’s predilection for sending suggestive texts, occasionally accompanied by photos of his bulging crotch, became national news and late-night comedian fodder in 2011, forcing him to resign from Congress. Nevertheless, the unflappable Weiner continued to strain against the seams of decency, running for New York mayor in 2013 before yet more sexually explicit online misadventures surfaced, thus forcing Weiner to withdraw and giving John Oliver his career.
In August of last year, The Daily Mail uncovered yet more sexually explicit messages Weiner had exchanged with a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina—including one in which he was again photographed in his underwear, lying next to his 4-year-old son. The girl also claimed that Weiner had sent her pornographic videos.
All of this would, of course, be merely tabloid fodder had Anthony Weiner—whose very name carries echoes of his being America’s embarrassingly inconvenient boner—not also been married to Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and had his wife not forwarded a handful of Clinton’s emails to his devices, which were then seized as part of his “sexting” investigation. As you’ll recall through a bitter migraine fog, the discovery of those emails prompted the FBI’s then-director James Comey to announce that the department was reopening its investigation into Clinton’s private email server just days before November 8—a turn of events that Clinton has since blamed for costing her the election. The rest is history. Tragicomic, why-couldn’t-you-jack-off-to-Pornhub-like-a-normal-fucking-person-Anthony-Weiner, your-dick-is-like-a-goddamn-chaos-butterfly history.
In court, Weiner was reportedly crying as he admitted to behavior that was as “morally wrong as it was unlawful,” acknowledging that “these destructive impulses brought great devastation to my family and friends, and destroyed my life’s dream in public service, yet I remained in denial even as the world around me fell apart.” In taking responsibility for his actions, he said, “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” telling the judge that he was currently seeking mental health treatment.
While the charge of transferring obscene material to a minor carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, federal prosecutors are currently seeking a “fair and appropriate” term of between 21 and 27 months. Ultimately, that decision will be made in Weiner’s sentencing on Sept. 8. In the meantime, Weiner will have to register as a sex offender wherever he works and lives, and forever shoulder a legacy of triggering a cataclysmic Rube Goldbergian sequence with his stupid erection.