Could a Creative Prosecutor Make “Weinergate” a Federal Case?


Does Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY)’s sending lewd photos and emails to at least six women constitute a federal crime? That’s the question raised by law Prof. Douglas Berman of Ohio State University in his blog Sentencing Law and Policy. “Sexting” between consenting adults is not (yet?) a state or federal crime, Berman says. But Weiner publicly and repeatedly lied about his Twitter account being hacked and apparently also indicated that he was “stalking” a woman on-line after she “voiced uneasiness with the electronic relationship.”

Now House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has called for a congressional investigation on whether Weiner used any “official resources.” Citing the indictment of former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), Berman says, “I am not eager to turn every stupid thing done by any stupid horny politician into a federal criminal case.” Still, “I have come to believe (and fear) that just about any really stupid behavior on-line or by a politician could be turned into a federal criminal case by a motivated and creative federal prosecutor. “Weinergate” seems to provide a good test-case for my concerns.”

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