Disgraced ex-New York congressman Anthony Weiner is no predator and should be spared prison at his sentencing for sexting with a North Carolina teen who dreamed of affecting the US presidential election, his lawyers told a judge on Wednesday. Per the AP, the submission in Manhattan federal court referenced "Anthony's operatic self-destruction," describing the crime as "the final act ... born of deep sickness." The court filing included letters from Weiner and his estranged wife, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who appeared with him in state court earlier in the day at a divorce proceeding, looking more like a couple than not. In a heavily blacked-out letter, Abedin wrote: "I am devastated by Anthony's actions, and I understand he must face their consequences." But the filing also blamed the 15-year-old, saying she'd told government investigators it had been her goal to affect last year's election.
Lawyers described Weiner as having committed a crime "far less egregious than any sexting case that has been prosecuted in this district," saying he never sought out teenagers on the internet and didn't engage in other predatory behaviors. "He responded to the victim's request for sexually explicit messages not because she was a teenager but in spite of it," the lawyers said. They added that Weiner had caught the eye of "a curious high school student, looking to generate material for a book" and that the investigation of him was "quite improperly injected into the US presidential election, quite possibly affecting its outcome." In a letter to US District Judge Denise Cote, who'll sentence him on Sept. 25, Weiner wrote "regret for my crime is profound" and that he'd endangered the well-being of a 15-year-old girl, as well as "crushed the aspirations of my wife and ruined our marriage."