Former US congressman sentenced to 21 months in sexting case

Former US Congressman Anthony Weiner arrives at US Federal Court in New York on September 25, 2017 for sentencing after pleading guilty to one count of sending obscene messages to a minor. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
Updated 25 September 2017
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Former US congressman sentenced to 21 months in sexting case

NEW YORK: Former Rep. Anthony Weiner was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15-year-old girl in a case that rocked Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the White House in the closing days of the race and may have cost her the presidency.
Weiner, 53, dropped his head into his hand and wept as the sentence was announced by Judge Denise Cote. He must surrender to prison officials by Nov. 6.
The sentencing completed the sordid downfall of the New York Democrat, whose penchant for exchanging lewd messages and photos with young women online destroyed his career in Congress in 2011, doomed his bid for mayor of New York in 2013, wrecked his marriage to Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, and became entangled in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Admitting “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” Weiner pleaded guilty in May to transferring obscene material to a minor, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for illicit contact with a North Carolina teenager.
He sought to be spared from prison, tearfully telling Cote on Monday that he was “a very sick man for a very long time.” Weiner, weeping as he read from a written statement on a page he held in front of him, called his crime his “rock bottom.”
Prosecutors said he sent her porn and got her to take her clothes off and touch herself on Skype. Assistant US Attorney Amanda Kramer on Monday urged Cote to give Weiner a significant prison sentence to end his “tragic cycle” of sexting.
The FBI was investigating Weiner’s contact with the high school student when it came across e-mails on his laptop between Abedin and Clinton, prompting then-FBI Director James Comey to announce in late October 2016 that he was reopening the probe of Clinton’s use of a private computer server.
Two days before Election Day, the FBI announced there was nothing new in the e-mails. But Clinton has blamed Comey’s handling of the episode more than any other factor for her loss to Donald Trump. In a recent NBC interview, she called the FBI director’s intervention “the determining factor” in her defeat.
Weiner’s lawyers had argued in court papers that he was undergoing treatment and was profoundly sorry for subjecting the girl to his “deep sickness.” They also portrayed her as an instigator, saying she wanted to generate material for a book and possibly influence the presidential election.
Prosecutors responded by arguing the victim’s motives were irrelevant to the punishment and said Weiner’s habit of getting caught sexting “suggests a dangerous level of denial and lack of self-control.”
Weiner, wearing his wedding ring, seemed pensive just before Monnday’s hearing began. His parents were in the courtroom but not his wife. He and Abedin are currently going through divorce proceedings.
Weiner’s behavior in all its lurid detail — including his online alias “Carlos Danger” and a selfie of his bulging underwear — turned him and his last name into an irresistible punchline for late-night comics and mortified his wife again and again. The couple, who have a 5-year-old, are getting divorced.
In her new memoir, “What Happened,” Clinton revealed that Weiner’s wife “looked stricken” and burst into tears upon learning her husband had triggered Comey’s “October surprise.”
“This man is going to be the death of me,” Abedin was quoted as saying.


Bosnia arrests Syrian, Algerian migrants with weapons

Updated 24 September 2018
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Bosnia arrests Syrian, Algerian migrants with weapons

SARAJEVO: Two migrants, a Syrian and an Algerian national found in possession of firearms were arrested in the Bosnian capital at the weekend, police said Monday.
It was the first time that police found weapons with migrants who have been passing through the Balkan country in growing numbers since the start of the year as they head toward western Europe.
“For the time being we do not know what they were planning to do with (the weapons),” a police spokeswoman told AFP.
“The two men tried to flee when police asked them for documents but they were quickly arrested,” spokeswoman Suvada Kuldija said.
The arrests were carried out on Sunday evening.
Police searched several locations linked to the two where they found and seized a “rifle, four guns, a silencer and more than 100 bullets of different calibres,” the spokeswoman added.
The 34-year-old Syrian national was officially registered with the authorities in charge of migrants, while police were verifying the status of the 23-year-old Algerian.
Since the start of the year, 15,000 migrants trying to reach western Europe have been registered in Bosnia, a minister said Sunday.
So far the influx does not compare with the hundreds of thousands who arrived in Europe via the ‘Balkans Route’ in 2015 and 2016, fleeing war and poverty across Africa and the Middle East.
The route was effectively closed in March 2016.
Now, most of the migrants, who enter Bosnia from Serbia or Montenegro, stay for a few days in Sarajevo before heading toward the northwestern town of Bihac.
Bihac is on the border with Europan Union member Croatia, where they try to sneak into the bloc.
Since the 1990s wars that marked the collapse of Yugoslavia, the Balkans have been considered a center for arms trafficking.
Militants who have carried out attacks in western Europe in recent years are also believed to have passed through.