The Latest: Letter to court urged leniency, cites hospital

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Disgraced ex-pol Dennis Hastert suffered stroke, has been hospitalized for weeks ahead of sentencing.

A friend of Dennis Hastert says her husband spoke to the former U.S. CHICAGO — Before he was indicted in May, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was known primarily for rising from political obscurity in rural Illinois to the nation’s third-highest office, which he occupied for eight years. Some key events in Hastert’s life and career and the criminal case against him: 1980: Hastert comes in third in state House primary, but the GOP chooses him to replace the fatally ill primary winner. Hastert later wins the general election. 1998: Hastert tells incumbent House Speaker Newt Gingrich that dissatisfaction in GOP ranks makes it unlikely the Georgia lawmaker will hold onto post.

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’s continued hospitalization his privacy will be respected.” Hastert was accused in May of evading banking regulations as part of a plan to pay hush money to conceal “prior misconduct.” The Associated Press and other media outlets, citing anonymous sources, have reported that Hastert wanted to hide claims that he sexually molested someone decades earlier. Hastert denies reports he may have known about the allegations earlier. 2007: Hastert steps down as speaker after becoming longest-serving Republican in the position.

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. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government and Public Policy is founded at Wheaton College. 2012-2014: When Hastert learns any withdrawals over $10,000 are flagged, he allegedly begins withdrawing cash in increments just under $10,000 and uses the money to pay $952,000 to Individual A. A member of Hastert’s legal team recently wrote the judge overseeing the case to ask for probation rather than confinement “in light of his recent hospital stay.” The plea agreement did not provide any details on the past misconduct behind the hush money payments, but sources have said Hastert was trying to hide allegations he sexually abused a student decades ago, while he was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School. MAY 28, 2015: Hastert is indicted on one count of seeking to skirt bank reporting requirements and one count of lying to the FBI about the reason for his cash withdrawals.

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. She said her husband, Dallas Ingemunson, spoke with Hastert and was told that he was suffering from sepsis and had undergone a “couple of back surgeries.” Dallas Ingemunson, who is a former state’s attorney from Kendall County, where Hastert is from, told the AP in November that Hastert had been admitted to an Aurora hospital but did not know the extent of his medical issues beyond a “foot problem.” 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.

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. 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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