PHOTO: MICHAEL O'KANE
Another chapter in the long, tragic fall of Anthony Weiner comes to a close and another begins.
That new chapter is a 21-month sentence in prison for exchanging lewd messages with a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina, at one point convincing her to strip naked for him.
A once-rising star in Washington, D.C. as a congressman from Brooklyn and Queens, Weiner will now be the new guy on the cell block in a federal penitentiary.
It's a pretty staggering fall from grace that began with his resignation in 2011 after he screwed up on Twitter, posting what was supposed to be a private message that included a picture of his crotch to a follower. Instead he posted it to his public timeline.
He quickly deleted it, but by then people had grabbed screenshots of the post and the proverbial horse was out of the barn. He originally claimed that his account had been hacked, an excuse that inexplicably works these days for any celebrity or politician caught in a social media misstep but didn't work for Weiner.
Even the most novice of Twitter uses at the time could fathom how the mistake happened. So Weiner confessed and resigned, and then laid low for a while. At least as far as the public knew
Two years later, he mounted his political comeback in a bid for mayor, and for a while Weiner was leading a field of five Democrats. He even stopped by this paper's office and made a case for why we should be the first to actually endorse his bid for mayor, promising that we he won the primary he would hold a press conference in front of our building praising us for our courage and foresight.
The public loves a comeback, and in the grand scheme of things sending someone a photo of your congressional member isn't exactly on par with what former governor Eliot Spitzer did when he was outed as Client 9.
Then Carlos Danger and Sydney Leathers joined the campaign. It became clear that Weiner's obsession with connecting to women online was a much deeper issue than sending a racy pic to a Twitter follower after explicit photos he exchanged with the Indiana women using the pseudonym were published.
Weiner didn't quit his bid for mayor, but ended up fifth in a five-way primary race.
After his defeat, he tried rehab and professed his desire to recover. And then news of the exchanges with the young girl came to light, and now he's off to prison.
We would like to say that this is the last we have heard of Anthony Weiner, if only for the sake of the privacy of his young son and estranged wife, former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. But we're not sure that's the case.
Weiner cried in the courtroom when his sentenced was handed down. Hours later, he was posing for the cameras outside the Union Square building where he shares an apartment with his soon-to-be ex-wife.
“Everybody got that? Good,” he reportedly told the shutterbugs, trading in his courtroom suit for a Mets cap and white shorts before heading down to the subway.
A politician who shall remain nameless, but who once ran against Weiner for a seat, once told us that after one of the debates they remember thinking, “just for one day I would like to be as confident as Anthony Weiner is everyday of his life.”
The same confidence that made him such an accomplished elected official is also the same confidence that led him to believe that he could continue his illicit sexting ways and get away with it.
It's the same confidence that has us believing we'll be hearing more from Anthony Weiner in about 21 months when he walks out of prison. He won't (can't) lay low for long.