A New York court has sentenced Anthony Weiner, a former US congressman and estranged husband of a Hillary Clinton aide, to 21 months in prison for sexting an underage girl. Weiner admitted to sexting many other women.
The 53-year-old Weiner cried upon hearing the sentence on Monday, and left the New York courtroom without addressing the press. Over the past several years, Weiner has been repeatedly exposed for engaging in sexting and sending inappropriate photos of himself.
"I was a very sick man for a very long time," he told the court on Monday, before the sentence was read.
Read more: Weiner pleads guilty to sexting teenager
The Democratic politician faced his first embarrassing scandal in 2011, when he accidentally posted a lewd picture of himself on his public Twitter feed. He initially claimed to have been a victim of hacking, but soon admitted to sexting with several different women.
The revelations forced Weiner to resign from Congress. His wife Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton's closest aides, remained with him through the scandal.
From Snapchat to Trump
In 2013, Weiner re-entered the spotlight and ran for mayor of New York, portraying himself as a reformed man and campaigning with his wife and child. However, his campaign failed as media outlets published more lewd conversations with several women, including at least three after the initial scandal in 2011.
During last year's US presidential race, the FBI investigated Weiner for sexting a high school student from North Carolina. Weiner allegedly sent inappropriate photos and asked the girl to undress on Skype and Snapchat in early 2016, despite knowing she was only 15 years old. The FBI seized his computer for evidence.
Upon searching the laptop, investigators found new emails between Weiner's wife and Hillary Clinton, prompting then-FBI Director James Comey to reopen the investigation against the presidential candidate over Clinton's private email server. Some observers have claimed that decision tipped the scale in favor of Donald Trump.
In May, Abedin filed for divorce from Weiner.
Weiner 'deserves serious punishment'
On Monday, Weiner called himself a sexting "addict" who had maintained many online affairs while in contact with the teenager. He said he was receiving treatment, and asked Judge Denise Cote not to send him to prison and allow him to overcome his compulsion.
While Cote praised Weiner's progress in battling his mental issues, she also said the case should send a message to the public.
"This is a serious crime that deserves serious punishment," she said. "There is an opportunity to make a statement that can protect other minors."
Weiner had previously agreed not to appeal any sentence of 27 months or less. In addition to his prison sentence, he will be registered as a sex offender and pay a fine of $10,000 (8,436 euros).
dj/cmk (AP, AFP, Reuters)