In one of the most disappointing and high-profile sexting scandals of the last five years, former congressman Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. The sentence stems from Weiner’s guilty plea to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor, which was placed with the court in May.
While those charged with sex crimes certainly want to avoid jail time, the story is an example of why it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney.
According to a recent CNN.com report, the criminal charges stem from online communications in which Weiner asked a 15-year-old girl to perform sexual acts via Snapchat, Confide and Kik. These are social media communication apps that delete messages after a recipient has viewed them. The report also notes that the girl initially contacted Weiner, but the former congressman, who had already endured political troubles for sending lewd photos of himself, knew that the girl was a minor.
The crime charged carried a 10 year prison sentence. Given Weiner’s history, political career and progress with counseling, his legal team argued for an extended probation sentence. They argued that he was not a sexual predator and that he made a mistake as he hit rock bottom after his political defeats and the implosion of his marriage.
Conversely, prosecutors urged the court to impose a prison sentence of 21 to 27 months, given his history of illicit online conduct and the fact that he was aware that the girl was underage. Ultimately, the court determined that a 21 month sentence was appropriate, reasoning that because of his notoriety, he will serve as an example to discourage others from committing the same crime.