Who Is Anthony Weiner?
Anthony Weiner was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1964. Weiner launched his political career in 1991, when he won a seat on the City Council in New York. In 1998, he captured a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served for 13 years before a sexting scandal forced him to resign. In May 2017, Weiner pleaded guilty to sexting with a 15-year-old high school student, and five months later he was sentenced to 21 months in prison for his crime.
Anthony David Weiner was born on September 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York. Raised largely middle-class, Weiner, the son of a public school teacher, graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1981 and subsequently enrolled at SUNY Plattsburgh. While he initially dreamed of becoming a weatherman, Weiner changed course early on and earned a political science degree in 1985.
It wasn't long before Weiner found work in his chosen field, taking an intern position in the Washington, D.C., office of House of Representatives member Charles Schumer. By the early 1990s, Weiner had endeared himself to Schumer and he was relocated back to New York City, where he worked as Schumer's district director.
But the position was not a long-term one for Weiner. In 1991, he launched his first political campaign, running for a City Council seat to represent a southern section of Brooklyn. After squeaking out a narrow victory in the primary, the 27-year-old Weiner won the general election, making him the youngest candidate ever to capture a City Council seat in New York City history.
In 1998, Weiner decided to make a bid to return to Washington, this time to replace his former mentor, Schumer, who was on his way to winning one of New York's Senate seats. Like before, Weiner scratched out a tough primary fight and then narrowly won the general election.
Serving in Congress
As a member of Congress, Weiner made his bones as an old-fashioned liberal Democrat, who wasn't afraid to voice his support for pro-choice, pro–gun control and pro-government causes. In a government body increasingly roughed up by partisan politics, Weiner proved to be one of the most vocal in his party, unafraid to go after Republicans and their leader, President George W. Bush.
As a result, Weiner had his fans and his critics. Even among members of his own party, he could be seen a political leader more in love with getting in front of the camera than actually doing any substantive work.
But while he seemed to bask in his new life in Washington, a part of Weiner longed to return to his New York roots. In 2005, he made an unsuccessful bid to run for the New York mayorship—long considered to be his dream job. He flirted with a second campaign in 2009 before deciding to sit the election out.
In May 2011 news began to circulate of Weiner's questionable online behavior. As details began to surface about his online contacts with women and his sending of suggestive photos of himself to them over Twitter, Weiner at first denied the allegations. He claimed, initially, that his account had been hacked.
But as more evidence began to emerge, Weiner decided to give up the stonewalling and fess up to his actions, forcing members of his own party to call for an ethics probe. In a stunning turn of events for the once-promising politician, he resigned from his office on June 16, 2011.
"I am announcing my resignation from Congress so my colleagues can get back to work, my neighbors can choose a new representative and most important so that my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused," Weiner told reporters. Just a year before, Weiner had married Huma Abedin, a close confidante and deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At the time of Weiner's resignation, Abedin was pregnant with the couple's first child.
After his resignation, Weiner seemed to largely keep a low profile. In December 2011, he and Abedin welcomed a son, Jordan, into the world.
In July 2012, reports began to circulate that Weiner was looking to jump back into politics and make another run for mayor of New York City. Weiner refused to comment on the rumors. But nearly a year later the story proved to be true. In May 2013, he officially announced his candidacy through a video released online. Weiner acknowledged that he had "made some big mistakes," but he hoped "to get a second chance" to help out those in the middle and working classes.
On July 23, 2013—only hours after a celebrity news website published sexually influenced texts and photos by Weiner, reportedly from 2012—Weiner held a press conference where he publicly admitted that his online sexual escapades didn't cease after he stepped down from Congress in 2011. Abedin stood by his side as her husband spoke, apologizing and asking voters to give him "a second chance."
Without getting into specifics, the former congressman stated, "Some of these things happened before my resignation. Some of them happened after. ... While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me."
In 2015, Weiner briefly worked as a part-time consultant for a public relations firm in New York City. He also appeared in the television movie Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (2015) on the Syfy channel. His failed political career became the subject of the 2016 documentary Weiner.
Scandal & 2016 Presidential Election
In August 2016, while his wife was on the presidential campaign trail for Hillary Clinton, Weiner was caught in another sexting scandal reported by The New York Post, which revealed messages he had sent to a woman the previous year.
Weiner deleted his Twitter account following the report, and the same day his wife announced their separation. “After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband," she said in a statement. "Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy.”
Two months later, on October 28, 2016, Weiner’s scandal rocked the United States presidential race when F.B.I. director James Comey revealed in a letter to Congress that while investigating Weiner for texts he had sent to a 15-year-old girl, law enforcement officials had found emails that “appear to be pertinent” to the closed investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server. The content of the emails, which reportedly were sent by Huma Abedin to Clinton’s personal server, were unknown. The controversial news came just 11 days before the election.
Weiner reportedly checked into a rehab facility several days later.
On November 6, just two days before the election, Comey wrote another letter to Congress stating that Clinton should not face criminal charges after a review of the emails found while investigating Weiner. In December 2016, Weiner was in the headlines again when he was fined $65,000 for campaign finance violations during his 2013 mayoral run.
Guilty Plea & Sentencing
On May 19, 2017, Weiner pleaded guilty to a felony involving sending sexually explicit online messages to the teenage girl. “I engaged in obscene communications with this teenager,” Mr. Weiner said. He also explained his behavior as a "sickness."
"I accept full responsibility for my conduct. I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse," he said. "I apologize to everyone I have hurt. I apologize to the teenage girl, whom I mistreated so badly. I am committed to making amends to all those I have harmed." His wife filed for divorce in Manhattan Supreme Court that same day, though she withdrew the case from court early the following year with the announcement they would settle "swiftly and privately."
In September 2017, Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in prison for transferring obscene material to a minor. He began serving his sentence at Federal Medical Center Devens, approximately 40 miles west of Boston, that November.
In February 2019, it was reported that Weiner had been moved from the Massachusetts prison to the jurisdiction of New York’s Residential Re-entry Management program. His sentence reduced by about three months due to good behavior, he was slated to earn his full release on May 14.
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