The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin will settle their divorce out-of-court. According to one of Abedin's attorneys, the former couple made the decision in an attempt to shield their young son from the public embarrassment that often accompanies high-profile divorce cases.
Abedin, a former top aide to Hillary Clinton, announced in August 2016 that she would be splitting up with Weiner on account of his most recent sexting scandal. The disgraced former congressman had been caught several times sending sexual messages and photographs to women over the Internet, and is currently serving a 21-month prison sentence for sending lewd messages to a 15-year-old girl.
Nine months later, Abedin officially filed for divorce. Although some of Wednesday's headlines implied that the couple wouldn't be splitting up at all, the two are most definitely still dissolving their marriage. However, they'll now be completing the process privately with their own lawyers, outside of the courtroom and without a judge.
“In order to reduce any impact of these proceedings on their child, the parties have decided to reach a settlement swiftly and privately,” Abedin's lawyer said in a statement Wednesday.
Abedin has long been one of Clinton's most trusted aides, and served as vice chair of her presidential campaign. Had Clinton won the election, Abedin almost certainly would landed a top job in the White House, perhaps as chief of staff.
Weiner represented New York's 9th congressional district in the House of Representatives from 1998 to 2011, and was briefly a rising star in Democratic politics. However, a seemingly endless string of sexting scandals gradually derailed his once-promising career — and ultimately landed him in prison.
In 2011, Weiner's Twitter account sent a (non-nude) image of a man's crotch, then deleted it. After initially claiming that his account had been hacked, Weiner acknowledged that he accidentally sent the tweet himself while attempting to message a woman who wasn't Abedin. He eventually acknowledged sending sexual messages to six women and, under immense pressure from Democratic leadership, resigned from Congress later that year.
Weiner attempted a political comeback two years later, launching a bid for mayor of New York City. To the surprise of many, he briefly topped the polls in the Democratic primary — and yet his campaign was undone, alas, by revelations that he had continued to sext women to whom he was not married even after the 2011 incidents. He conceded the race after placing fifth in the primary.
In 2016, Weiner was again in the headlines for a sext scandal when the New York Post published a photo he'd allegedly sent to yet another woman. This one showed Weiner from the neck down, sans shirt and with his clothed crotch prominently on display — and, to the horror of many, with his toddler son laying right next to him. Within the next few days Abedin announced that she was splitting up with Weiner, and child protective services launched an investigation.
The final nail in the coffin came a month later, when a 15-year-old girl told the Daily Mail that she'd received sexually explicit texts and images from Weiner. The FBI seized his computer, and he pled guilty to federal obscenity charges the next year.
Some have argued that Weiner's sexting is responsible for Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election, albeit indirectly. Less than two weeks before the election, then-FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the bureau was reopening its investigation into Clinton's email server on account of new information it had received as part of an "unrelated case." Clinton's poll numbers plummeted, and FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver later concluded that the Comey letter "probably cost Clinton the election."
It was eventually reported that this "unrelated case" was the FBI's investigation into Weiner's conversations with the aforementioned 15-year-old girl.