Ex-US House Speaker Dennis Hastert Recovering From Stroke

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Attorney: Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert Suffered a Stroke Last Month, Has Been Hospitalized Ever Since.

Former U.S. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert suffered a stroke and was hospitalized shortly after pleading guilty to a federal criminal charge connected to alleged hush-money payments.Legal experts say that Dennis Hastert’s hospitalization is likely to delay his Feb. 29 sentencing and the illness could influence the federal judge’s decision on a punishment in his hush-money case.

Hastert also has been treated for sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of infection, and had two back surgeries while in the hospital, attorney Tom Green’s statement said. “We are very hopeful that Mr. Hastert, 73, was admitted to an unspecified hospital during the first week of November, the week after he entered his plea before for a federal judge here.

Hastert’s continued hospitalization, his privacy will be respected.” Hastert pleaded guilty in late October to one count of illegal structuring, which carries a maximum sentence of five years. Hastert’s health woes could potentially delay his sentencing scheduled for Feb. 29 and will likely become a key part of his attorneys’ efforts to spare him prison. Hastert will be released from the hospital in the early part of the new year,” Hastert’s attorney Tom Green said. “The family very much desires that during Mr.

But under the plea agreement, federal prosecutor Steven Block recommended that Hastert, the longest serving GOP speaker in history, be sentenced to zero to six months in federal prison. In the written plea agreement, the Illinois Republican directly acknowledged for the first time that he sought to pay someone $3.5 million to hide misconduct by Hastert against that person dating back several decades — about the time the longtime GOP leader was a high school wrestling coach. In routine questioning from the judge at the October hearing, Hastert said he had taken several prescription medications within the past day, but he did not detail the medical reasons for taking them.

But federal law enforcement officials told USA TODAY that Hastert made illegally structured withdrawals as part of an effort to conceal sexual misconduct he committed against a male student decades earlier at Yorkville High School, where Hastert worked as a teacher and wrestling coach before entering politics. “In light of his recent hospital stay, I would hope that probation in lieu of confinement would be considered in determining his sentence,” wrote C. Hastert’s lawyers are almost certain to ask for a delay in sentencing, though they could wait until weeks or even days before the February date to do so, said Gal Pissetzky, a Chicago attorney with no link to Hastert’s case. Hastert, who was speaker from 1999 to 2007, was a little-known Illinois lawmaker whose reputation for congeniality helped him ascend the ranks of Congress to become the longest-serving Republican speaker in U.S. history. Court records show Durkin has also received letters from several other members of the public, arguing for and against Hastert receiving a prison sentence. “Forty years ago he made a terrible mistake which he has now paid in blackmail,” wrote the women identified as Mary Burckart and Kathryn Bruno. In January 1999, House Republicans voted for him to succeed Newt Gingrich, who had lost support because of ethics violations and the party’s poor showing in the 1998 midterm election.

Judges frequently put ailing or even terminally ill defendants behind bars, said a former assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, Jeffrey Cramer, noting that several federal prisons are medically equipped to deal with such cases. Dallas Ingemunson, a longtime friend and political adviser of Hastert’s, told the Tribune the stroke was “mild” and that Hastert was upbeat in a recent phone call. Posted on the court docket Wednesday, it adds Hastert’s current legal plight “may reflect mistakes in how he structured withdrawals” but that as speaker, Hastert “was known as a man of integrity.” Attempts to reach Pollard were not successful.

Hastert’s felony conviction marked a dramatic downfall for a man who was once one of Illinois’ most powerful Republicans, having risen from humble beginnings as a small-town high school teacher to the third-highest elected office in the country. Associated Press writers Don Babwin in Chicago, John O’Connor in Springfield, Illinois, and Eric Tucker in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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