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Ex-Con Hawks Anthony Weiner’s Prison Typewriter Cartridge

Jefferson Siegel/Reuters
Jefferson Siegel/Reuters

An ex-convict once held in the same federal prison as Anthony Weiner is looking to cash in after hoarding the former congressman’s typewriter tape cartridge for years.

Derek Thomas, who was locked up from 2012 until nine days ago, contacted The Daily Beast via email on Thursday to try to sell a cartridge he claimed Weiner used to write letters while they were both at FMC-Devens in Massachusetts.

Thomas, 56, was in prison for producing child pornography. Weiner—who represented New York in the House until his political career imploded in a sex scandal—was serving time for sending explicit texts to a minor.

Thomas’ story is that he used the typewriter near Weiner’s every day for a month—and that when Weiner was done with his cartridge, he offered it to Thomas. Instead of using it, Thomas said in a phone call with The Daily Beast, he “sealed it in a plastic bag” to preserve it.

Now, he is asking for at least $4,000 for the cartridge, suggesting that the buyer could unfurl the tape and read what Weiner had written. In his email, he dangled the possibility that it could contain information about Weiner’s former wife, Huma Abedin, and the Clintons.

“I’ve had it for so long. I’ve been making an active effort to market it. I know he was writing to everyone and anyone,” Thomas told The Daily Beast. “If you unspool it, it’s very easy to read. It’s like a scroll. It’s a Jack Kerouac novel.”

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So far, he said at least one news outlet is interested but “the RNC hasn’t gotten back to me yet.” Thomas sent photos of a cartridge in a baggie, but The Daily Beast has not purchased it and cannot confirm that Weiner used it.

Laughing when he heard about Thomas’ pitch, Weiner told The Daily Beast he does not remember Thomas from Devens, a minimum security penitentiary with 900 inmates, and does not recall giving him his typewriter cartridge. But he said the scenario sounded “vaguely familiar.”

“It’s conceivable that I gave it away. When you leave prison, you give away your shit,” he said. “There is no Clinton stuff on that cartridge, definitely. Letters to my wife, that would be on there.”

“Doesn’t look like anyone I remember,” he later added via email when sent a photo of Thomas. “It could be both my cartridge and also not someone I know.”

The disgraced Democrat—who now has a show on WABC77 radio—arrived at FMC-Devens five months after he was sentenced to 21 months in prison for sending sexually explicit texts to a 15-year-old girl. The Bureau of Prisons confirmed that Weiner was at the Massachusetts facility until Feb. 14, 2019, which coincides with Thomas’ time there.

“Here’s the thing. Typing cartridges were expensive and typewriters were not super available,” Weiner said. “You bought the cartridges at the commissary….[and] between those and packets of tuna, you would buy the tuna.”

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Thomas had been in the prison system for years before meeting Weiner. He was arrested in March 2012 after investigators traced an IP address offering child porn online to his girlfriend’s home. During a search, investigators found at least 500 child porn images and videos on Thomas’ laptop, according to a criminal complaint.

In a press release, Vermont prosecutors said they later discovered that Thomas, posing as a teenage boy, coerced a 12-year-old to take and send sexually explicit videos in exchange for gifts. He also unknowingly recorded himself setting up a hidden video camera in the children’s bathroom. In December 2013, Thomas pleaded guilty to producing child pornography and was sentenced a year later.

Four years after he began his prison sentence, he was moved to FMC-Devens on March 1, 2018, where he stayed until December 2022, the Bureau of Prisons said. Thomas is currently in community confinement in New York, meaning he is either in home confinement or at a halfway house.

“You’re not allowed to mail stuff out like that from the BOP,” Thomas told The Daily Beast. “But I just got out. So I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

Weiner said he was surprised by Thomas’ asking price for the cartridge but is not shocked that it’s being hawked to the media.

“I don’t know what the going price is for a used typewriter cartridge for a former elected official. I didn’t realize those ribbons would be a hot commodity,” he said. “Guy’s got to do what he has to do. People have made careers off of me. Anyway, I can help a brother out, I guess.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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