A Long, Hard Look at Weiner’s Sentence

Apologies in advance, but I’ve got to use up this pallet of Anthony Weiner puns I got at Sam’s or they’ll all be expired by the time he gets out of prison. So let’s quit dicking around and talk about the details on the prick’s plea bargain.

Are the sentencing guidelines for Weiner’s underage sexting plea bargain too stiff or too soft? Both:

So the guidelines should be 10 years in federal prison, but because it’s Anthony Weiner he’s only going to get about 2? Isn’t that extremely suspicious? Is this preferential treatment for a connected Democrat?

Well, it’s got a very unfortunate appearance, I think.

Here’s what may be going on.

Fist, Weiner got struck by lightning, in a way. It’s quite rare for the feds to prosecute someone for sexting a teen like this. It’s vastly more common for the state to handle it, and generally the consequences would be much less severe if the state prosecuted. Weiner got caught up in this because of his prominence and connection to high-profile people and high-profile investigations. If he were Tony Weynor, married to a hairdresser in Brooklyn, he almost certainly wouldn’t get federally investigated or prosecuted for this. His social, political, and media prominence, combined with his idiocy and recklessness, made his actions the equivalent of doing something right in front of the cop — the cop feels duty-bound to arrest you. The U.S. Attorney’s office may have thought that he was facing unfairly disproportionate consequences — ten years instead of perhaps probation or a minor sentence stateside — because of who he was, and might have thought some leniency was appropriate.

Second, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are arcane. It’s a thicket of “use this guideline, but wait, cross-reference to that guideline if factor X is present.” Here, the base guideline applying to the offense dictates a far more lenient result — one in the 21-27 month range the government is going to recommend. But because Weiner apparently encouraged a minor to send him explicit pictures, the guideline cross-references to a far, far harsher guideline designed for “sex trafficking.” I suspect that the U.S. Attorney’s Office thought that the Sentencing Commission didn’t contemplate such a harsh guideline being applied to a sexting-a-minor offense that normally would not be prosecuted in federal court.

So are you saying he’s getting a sweet deal, or not?

He’s getting a terrible deal by being prosecuted federally for conduct that only very rarely would attract federal prosecution. But he’s getting an extraordinarily lenient, compassionate, humane deal within that context. I have only very rarely seen a recommendation for a sentence so dramatically below the guideline range when the defendant wasn’t cooperating in an important case.

Look, the system strikes some people with lightning. Those people normally get ground up mercilessly. Anthony Weiner’s getting struck by lightning but then treated with very unusual mercy. I don’t disagree with the arguments that the guideline sentence is too high, or that nobody intended for the sex trafficking guideline and its harsh results to be applied to sexting with a teen. But I’m troubled by who gets that consideration and who doesn’t. Federal court dishes out brutal mandatory minimum sentences and guideline sentences to people all the time. People like Anthony Weiner get sympathy and special consideration; people think about whether the law is fair as applied to them. People generally don’t ask that about most defendants.

(Most Shocking voiceover) “He used to be cock of the walk, but now Anthony Weiner is going to be doing…hard time.”

Keep in mind that the day before Weiner copped his plea bargain, former uniformed Secret Service officer Lee Robert Moore was was sentenced to 20 years in prison for “sending sexually explicit photos of himself to underage girls — while he was on duty at the White House.”

Weiner’s wife, former (and future?) Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, officially filed for divorce from Weiner. The only thing she can be critisized for (in this particular instance) is waiting so long. But I’m pretty sure it’s easier to get full custody of your child when the other party in the divorce is a registered sex offender.

She might have another reason: “So long as she remained ‘Mrs. Weiner,’ Abedin could claim spousal protection and dodge taking the stand in her husband’s underage sexting case. Now that Weiner has pleaded guilty, there can be no trial — so she has no need for the spousal protection.”

People in Hillary Clinton’s circle do seem to have an aversion to taking the witness stand under oath.

All in all, it’s a flaccid end to what Democrats once considered a rising political star…

And let’s not forget the first man who broke the original Weiner sexting story:

Now some images:

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One Response to “A Long, Hard Look at Weiner’s Sentence”

  1. harp1034 says:

    He must know something on someone and has been singing a song or two. How else would he get that sweetheart deal.

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