Anthony Weiner May End Up In Prison

by Chris Tognotti
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

It sounds like the long, sordid downfall of former Congressman Anthony Weiner is finally complete, at least for the foreseeable future. On Friday, May 19, Weiner reportedly pleaded guilty to charges of sexting with an underage girl, which raises an obvious question ― will Weiner end up in prison, and if so, for how long?

The answer, simply put, is yes. With this guilty plea, Weiner will almost assuredly be heading to prison to serve a sentence, one that could last anywhere from zero to 10 years pending a judge's decision. According to the Associated Press, part of his deal stipulates that he won't appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison, which may suggest the sentence will fall somewhere in that length.

Weiner will also reportedly have to register as a sex offender, a lifelong classification. Weiner was charged for sending sexually explicit text messages to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina, and the record of messages between the two showed that he understood she was underage. The investigation into his sexting behavior ultimately sparked a tumultuous, arguably decisive 11th-hour crisis for the Clinton campaign, as the contents of his laptop directly prompted the writing of the now-infamous Comey letter.

According to CNN, it'll still be a while before he lands behind bars. He'll be out on bail until Sept. 8, the date of his sentencing hearing, at which point he'll find out just how much time he'll be serving. According to multiple reports, a tearful Weiner describe himself as having a "sickness," though he denied making an "excuse."

"I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse," he said.

This is far from the first time Weiner's gotten in trouble for his serial sexting, but it is the first time he's been outed for engaging in this kind of behavior with a minor. It's a grave offense that will carry a high amount of societal stigma, years in prison, and an effective end to any future career in the world of politics ― not that he had much of one left, after a pair of sex scandals torpedoed both his career in Congress and his attempted comeback bid for mayor of New York City.

In simple terms, this is it for Weiner as everyone used to know him, and the start of a new chapter of his life ― as as a convicted and registered sex offender who burned right through his second and third chances. And, of course, he'll always be remembered for one of the most infamous and nationally consequential political downfalls in American history.