Anthony Weiner faces 15 years in prison after FBI agents found child pornography on a laptop connected to a Hillary Clinton investigation.
Anthony Weiner is set to be charged with production of child pornography, according to the Wall Street Journal, amid claims a Washington D.C. pedophile ring is about to be blown wide open.
Mr. Weiner, a New York Democrat and the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, is being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and the FBI, which seized his electronic devices, including a laptop and a cellphone, as part of the probe.
His laptop was found to contain new emails sent by Hillary Clinton to Huma Abedin – previously thought deleted forever by the Hillary camp – and now authorities have revealed it also contained child pornography.
Production of child pornography carries a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence upon conviction.
The Wall Street Journal reports: The investigation into Weiner’s affairs began last fall after the Daily Mail in the U.K. revealed that Mr. Weiner had exchanged sexually explicit messages and photos with underage girls.
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.
These types of discussions can indicate both sides are trying to reach an agreement in which the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for a less-severe charge.
Mr. Weiner could face the production charge, some of the people familiar with the case say, because he allegedly solicited explicit images from the teenager. Prosecutors also are weighing other charges, including receipt of child pornography, for which conviction carries a five-year mandatory minimum, and possession of child pornography, which has no mandatory minimum.
Prosecutors could decide not to bring any charges.
It isn’t known what images prosecutors have found in the course of the investigation. Federal child pornography laws are broadly written, and lawyers who have defended people charged with child pornography say certain types of images could receive lighter treatment under the law, such as photos of nude minors who aren’t engaging in sexually explicit activity.
In determining child-pornography charges, prosecutors often take into account a range of contextual evidence, including whether a person specifically sought out a minor, whether the incident fits a pattern of similar behavior with minors and whether the person knew the individual was a minor.
Mr. Weiner has said he might have been the victim of a hoax. The Daily Mail reported in September that Mr. Weiner had provided the newspaper copies of two emails the teenager sent him that he said “raised questions about her claims.”
Mr. Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011, after the first reports that he had lewd exchanges with women online. He attempted a political resurrection with a New York City mayoral bid in 2013, but his career in politics was ultimately extinguished after a fresh round of sexually explicit messages he had exchanged with another woman emerged in the midst of his campaign.
The high-profile criminal probe into Mr. Weiner upended the final days of the 2016 presidential race. Less than two weeks before election day, FBI Director James Comey disclosed that FBI agents had discovered a laptop with emails that might be related to the probe of a private email server used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. The emails turned out to have been on a laptop used by Mr. Weiner and his now-estranged wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Mrs. Clinton.