In a letter to the judge ahead of his sentencing later this month, convicted former New York congressman Anthony Weiner begged for leniency, writing, "Every day I quietly do what I can to keep getting better, and to fix the damage I've done."
Weiner, who's been convicted for sexting with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl, is eligible for a harsh term of years in prison but is likely to face less time. As part of his plea bargain, he agreed not to appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months.
Sentencing letters written on Weiner's behalf were submitted in Manhattan federal court earlier this week. Weiner, his estranged wife Huma Abedin, and his mother, brother and father each wrote to the judge.
Weiner wrote to judge Denise Cote, "My regret for my crime is profound. I have endangered the wellbeing of a 15 year old girl who reached out to me on the internet. My continued acting out over years crushed the aspirations of my wife and ruined our marriage. I am so deeply sorry for the harm I have done to her, and I live with the sorrow that I will never be able to fix that."
"And the one perfect thing in my life — my son will forever have to answer questions about the public and private failings of his father. My regret keeps me awake at night and fills me with fear from the moment I awaken. There are daily, even hourly, reminders of my failings. I can’t imagine ever not feeling regret," he wrote.
Weiner admitted in his letter that he was in denial for years about having an "untreated and even an unrecognized mental disorder that corrupted my judgement profoundly."
"I lost a career when my secret life became public. I lost jobs when I couldn’t stop. Finally, I went to rehab, recognized clearly what this pattern really was. I finally found professionals who help me manage my sickness. I found a community of people to support me in my recovery. Now at this writing, I am 345 days off my destructive behaviors and have a daily practice to help me never return to them," Weiner wrote in the letter dated September 8.
Weiner says he attends support meetings daily, chairs meetings weekly and mentors new participants. He's also working to develop a non-profit he started in 2014 that will train troubled youth and ex-offenders for jobs in food service.
In a passage describing his relationship with his 5-year-old son Huma Abedin, Weiner said Jordan has been his "salvation" since his public downfall.
"I would tell myself, if I get this right then all the rest of my mess can be forgiven. If I loved him enough and gave him an amazing childhood, then at least one person will love me throughout," he wrote.
"But I was wrong. So long as I was still doing things that so were so completely at odds with my values and the values I wanted for him, I was not being the father he needed. I was not teaching him perseverance and strength by getting up after each embarrassing expose about me and continuing to be a good dad," Weiner said. "No. By not getting help, by continuing to dishonor his mother, by living in shame and secrets, I was not teaching him courage. Far from it. I regret it so much it makes me shake just to write this."
Weiner said he is "different" now: "I don’t fear that day that he asks me about who is daddy was. I’ll tell him I was a troubled guy who did a lot of amazing things for people I barely knew. I’ll him I was a guy to did a very bad thing to a young person I never met. I’ll tell him I put his amazing mother through years of trauma and broke her heart."
Weiner said his life now is the "right size" -- working quietly at a job that allows him to financially support his son, and supporting people who are struggling with similar issues.
"My life isn’t big and loud anymore. Every day I quietly do what I can to keep getting better, and to fix the damage I’ve done. I have much more work to do. Please show me grace so that I may continue," he wrote to the judge.
In her one-page letter, Abedin said, "This is not a letter I ever imagined I would write, but, with Anthony, I have repeatedly found myself in circumstances I never imagined. I am devastated by Anthony’s actions, and I understand he must face their consequences."
"However, as a mother, I have always done and will do anything I think will help [Jordan] be as safe, happy, healthy, and complete as possible," she wrote.
"Whatever else Anthony has done, he loves [Jordan]," she said.
The rest of the letter as obtained from public court records is heavily blacked out, but Abedin concluded: "As would any parent, if there has to be any negative impact on [Jordan], I would like it to be as small as possible."
Weiner's mother Frances, in a handwritten letter to the judge, said since returning from residential treatment, her son has changed.
"Considering what I know about Anthony's emotional background, I was very concerned and watchful for any possible effects on my grandson, whom I have spent at least one day a week with since his birth," she wrote.
"What I have seen is that Anthony is an extraordinarily loving and attentive parent who has always dealth with [Jordan] with sensitivity and determination not to repeat his parents' mistakes," she wrote, adding that she was "encouraged" by her son's interaction with her grandson.
"I am proud that Anthony had the courage to first admit to himself, and then stand before the court and admit that he had done wrong," she said. "I am hopeful that the consequences of his behavior have finally put him on the path to health."
Younger brother Jason Weiner said in his letter that Anthony Weiner took care of him growing up and was an "affirming and proud" older brother in the midst of household tumult.
Through Anthony Weiner's adulthood, Jason said, Anthony "was busy fixing everyone else's problems but neither he nor anyone else was addressing his issues. It was basically a continuation of the dynamic in our house growing up."
Jason said through his brother's first several sexting scandals, "Anthony remained remarkably unchanged. Yes, he was chastened and humbled. Yes, he would apologize. But there didn't ever seem to be a desire to change course in any meaningful way. Each time he seemed to take a crisis management approach."
Weiner started to changed when he went away for treatment, his brother said, and by the time he returned home, "the way he spoke about his affliction was frank, honest and painful. Gone was the window dressing and excuses."
Jason Weiner added that his brother is "an amazing dad. Maybe the best I know. Yes, he is loving and attentive. But he is also an imaginative, creative and energetic father."
Finally, Weiner's father Mort wrote that he has been "proud" of his son as a parent and as a public servant.
"I believe if given the chance, he has many good years to give to his son and to society," wrote Mort Weiner.
"I have already lost Anthony's older brother Seth to a hit and run accident," he said. "I respectfully request the court to permit Anthony to continue treatement and remain with his son and family."
Weiner is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 25.
Also earlier this week, Weiner and Abedin appeared briefly before a judge in their divorce case. They sat side by side and chatted casually while their lawyers met with state Supreme Court Justice Michael L. Katz.