Almost as though he never left, Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman and the husband of longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, has been released from Federal Medical Center Devens in Massachusetts. He was sentenced to serve 21 months at the prison, alongside members of the Gambino crime family, a brother of Bernie Madoff, and a billionaire fundraiser for his wife’s old boss, after being caught sexting with a 15-year-old girl in Kentucky in 2016. FMC Devens specializes in housing prisoners who have medical conditions, as the name implies, but also has strict requirements that make it an ideal place to hold sex offenders like Weiner.
According to a long report in the Daily Mail in October 2017, registered sex offenders at FMC Devens are not separated from the general population, and spend five days each week participating in a sex offender treatment program with therapy, classes, and other activities designed to help prevent re-offending once an inmate is released. But how likely is it that Anthony Weiner, who has blown up his career and family on three separate occasions with his sexting obsession, will be able to keep his nose clean (and fingers away from the “Send” button) now that he’s back in New York?
In the short term, he’ll have some help. Until his mid-May release date, he’ll be living at a halfway house in the Bronx as part of a federal re-entry program for inmates. During his time there, he’ll be permitted to leave, supervised, to visit family, find work, see doctors and counselors, and participate in approved recreation activities. After two weeks at the halfway house, he’ll be expected to work 40 hours a week. Reportedly, one of Weiner’s very highest priorities is to spend time with his son, Jordan, and try to repair that relationship.
That makes sense. Weiner and Abedin married in 2010 in a ceremony officiated by none other than former president Bill Clinton. Abedin had been a close aide and confidant of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton since the Clintons’ White House days, and she had followed her boss from the First Lady’s office to the United States Senate and then on to the State Department. Weiner, meanwhile, had been serving in the House of Representatives since 1999 and was widely considered a rising star in the Democratic Party after his full-throated defense of Barack Obama’s project of healthcare reform. Weiner once described the Republican Party as “a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry.”
It was only months later that Weiner would be subsumed in the first of the sexting scandals that brought down his career and, some argue, changed the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. In May 2011, Weiner posted and then quickly deleted an explicit photo of himself to Twitter, but he didn’t erase it in time to avoid it being screen-captured by a detractor. The photo was sent to Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website, where there had reportedly been an ongoing effort to catfish Weiner, and the scandal took off.
For days, Weiner denied he had posted the pictures, even telling Abedin that his Twitter account had been hacked, but was ultimately forced to relent when other pictures he had provided to other women surfaced. Support within the party quickly collapsed, and by mid-June, he was out of office entirely.
Abedin was still working as a deputy chief of staff to the Secretary of State, but was pregnant with Jordan by then. She negotiated a work status that would allow her to be in New York more often, and she, Weiner, and soon, Jordan resumed living in the city. After the 2012 election, as Hillary Clinton prepared to leave her post at the State Department and return to private life, Abedin and Weiner were preparing his return to the public eye: in the race for Mayor of New York City in 2013.
When Weiner spoke to The New York Times Magazine in April of that year, he had contrition, while also showing some of the old brashness that had made him a favorite of his constituents for so many years. He said that he would like to, “ask the people to give me a second chance,” while noting that, “it’s now or maybe never for me.”
And for a while, it seemed like it was now. In late May, he formally announced his candidacy and within a month, was leading the primary field in a number of polls. By the end of July, a second sexting scandal had erupted, this time indicating that Weiner had not only kept sexting with women online after he left congress, but that he had used the hilarious and, once public, humiliating Twitter handle “Carlos Danger” to do it. He came in fifth in the September primary, garnering just 4.9% of the vote.
But that was not the end of Anthony Weiner’s time in the harsh glare of a massive scandal. Somehow, the marriage continued on, and by late summer 2016, Abedin was in the heart of the heated general election campaign of Hillary Clinton, facing down New York developer and first-time candidate Donald Trump. On August 28, 2016, the New York Post published yet another picture of Weiner sexting, this time while his very young son slept beside him on a bed.
Three weeks later, the Daily Mail published an article tying Weiner’s sexting to the 15-year-old in Kentucky, conduct which he would ultimately be prosecuted for. As an interstate exchange with a minor, it also caught the attention of federal investigators, who scooped up all of Weiner’s electronic devices from their home during the investigation.
On Weiner’s laptop, they found emails that they suspected connected to an earlier investigation of Clinton’s use of classified information, and just days before the election, newspapers blared the headline that the Clinton email investigation was back on. Many, including political handicapper Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, have pointed to this as the reason for Donald Trump’s razor-thin win.
Weiner’s time at FMC Deven was apparently well spent, and he was released from the facility three months earlier than expected. He and Abedin were in divorce court in 2017, but withdrew their case in order to privately negotiate a settlement and save Jordan from the experience of seeing even more unflattering headlines about his father.
When your marriage in Queens is coming to an end, the team at Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino can help. Call us today at 718-523-1111 for a free consultation with an experienced Queens divorce and child custody attorney.