Former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is being investigated for sending explicit messages to an underage girl, might face serious charges.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that federal prosecutors are looking into bringing child-pornography charges against Weiner, the estranged husband of top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
The former New York Democratic congressman is being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan in tandem with the FBI. Officials last year seized his laptop, cellphone, and other electronic devices.
The investigation led to FBI Director James Comey sending a letter to Congress days before Election Day, saying that his laptop—which he shared with Abedin—may have pertained to an investigation into Clinton’s email server. Comey later said no charges would be pursued against Clinton. Some critics say the last-minute investigation swung the election in favor of Trump.
The Daily Mail first reported that Weiner exchanged sexually explicit text messages with a 15-year-old girl, sparking an investigation into Weiner’s actions.
As the WSJ reported:
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.
Weiner is alleged to have solicited images from the girl, meaning he could face production charges. Other charges, including receipt of child pornography and possession, are being weighed.
According to the New York Daily News, Weiner told officials he believes that he might be the victim of a hoax.
In 2011, Weiner resigned from Congress after a sordid scandal involving him sending lewd text messages. He attempted to make a political comeback in 2013 but was derailed when more online exchanges were revealed.