Imagine a world in which Anthony Weiner learned his lesson the first time — or even the second. In that world, Weiner stays married to Huma Abedin, the FBI has no reason to look at their computers, and …. maybe Hillary Clinton gets elected president. Maaaayyyyybeeeeee.
Instead, Hillary got put out to pasture, and Weiner may be going somewhere else — for a very long time, according to the Wall Street Journal:
Federal prosecutors are weighing bringing child-pornography charges against former Rep. Anthony Weiner over sexually explicit exchanges he allegedly had with a 15-year-old girl, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Weiner, a New York Democrat, is being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which seized his electronic devices, including a laptop and a cellphone, as part of the probe. …
In recent weeks, according to some of the people familiar with the matter, attorneys for Mr. Weiner have had discussions with federal prosecutors in Manhattan in hopes of dissuading them from bringing charges, or at least from bringing the most serious one: production of child pornography, which carries a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence upon conviction.
The tougher charges aren’t necessarily a slam-dunk. Prosecutors would have to prove that Weiner specifically sought out a minor for for exchanging sexually explicit images, rather than simply stumbling into a bad situation without the mens rea of production of child pornography. His past history might actually help in this regard; his earlier episodes didn’t involve minors, but instead tremendously bad judgment. That won’t help on the possession charge, but that charge doesn’t have a minimum sentence, and he could convince a judge to keep him out of prison … maaaayyyyybeeeeee.
It’s also possible that he won’t get charged at all, or if charged, might not get convicted. Weiner’s attorneys insist that their client got hoaxed, and supposedly have evidence to support that claim. So far, though, that evidence hasn’t convinced prosecutors to end their investigation, so Weiner shouldn’t hold his breath on getting off the hook entirely.
But what if he does go scot-free? Hey, there’s always another mayoral race, or Weiner could try running for Congress. He seems addicted to high-risk, low-reward enterprises, so don’t scoff at that entirely. He’d be much better off finding a trade, though, and moving to somewhere far away from the media to ply it … and far away from cell phones and Skype apps, too.