NEW YORK ― Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) met his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, for their first hearing in divorce court Wednesday, months after he pleaded guilty to sending explicit text messages to a minor.
The two sat side by side, chatting but showing little emotion otherwise. Through their lawyers, the duo requested the court extend orders to protect their privacy as much as possible. But they were denied a motion to bar photographers from the proceedings.
“Because there’s a child involved, we’d like to keep these proceedings secret to the extent your honor will allow,” said Abedin’s attorney, Amy Donehower.
Their son, a five-year-old boy, was not present.
“I appreciate the party’s request to keep this as quiet as possible,” Judge Michael Katz said of the motion to bar photographers. “It doesn’t appear that ... this is possible.”
The hearing was the first in what’s gearing up to be a long, embattled process. The judge said he will rule later on a motion to identify both parties as “anonymous” in court paperwork, as Abedin reportedly seeks to finish the divorce without more media attention.
Abedin ― a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton ― filed for divorce right after Weiner pleaded guilty to the federal obscenity charge in May. Initially, Abedin tried to delay the divorce hearing until after Weiner’s sentencing, scheduled for Sept. 8, but that was delayed until Sept. 25.
As part of his plea deal, Weiner faces between 21 months to 27 months in prison. If sentenced to fewer than 27 months, he won’t be allowed to appeal. He’ll have to register as a sex offender, and he agreed in May to forfeit his iPhone.
The divorce hearing comes just a day after publication of Clinton’s book giving her take on her unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign, titled “What Happened.” In it, she details the moment just days before the election when she and Abedin learned that the FBI was reopening its investigation into her email use as secretary of state after correspondence between Abedin and Clinton was found on Weiner’s laptop.
“When we heard this, Huma looked stricken. Anthony had already caused so much heartache. And now this. ‘This man is going to be the death of me,’ [Abedin] said, bursting into tears.”
Weiner first won his House seat in 1998 and became a vocal member of the chamber’s Democratic caucus. In May of 2011, he posted a sexually explicit photograph of himself on his public Twitter account. After initially denying he had posted the photograph, he admitted he had. He also admitted he had been exchanging explicit photos and messages with several women for three years. He resigned from Congress that June.
He ran for mayor of New York City in 2013, but lost badly in the Democratic primary after it was revealed that he had exchanged explicit messages with more women after he resigned from Congress.
Abedin, 41, and Weiner, 53, married in July of 2010. They announced they were separating in August of 2016 after the emergence of yet another sexting scandal involving the lawmaker. It was later revealed he had sent explicit messages to a 15-year-old, leading to the charges against him.
“I engaged in obscene communication with this teen, just as I had done and continued to do with adult women,” Weiner said in court when he pleaded guilty in May.