Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert is scheduled to be sentenced later today in a case involving hush money that prosecutors say was used to cover up alleged sexual abuse of former students when he was a teacher and wrestling coach at a school in Illinois.
The longest-serving Republican speaker in U.S. history faces up to five years in prison, NPR’s David Schaper reports. David says, “Federal sentencing guidelines call for probation to up to six months in prison for Hastert’s guilty plea on the financial charge, but the judge can consider extenuating circumstances and impose a longer term.”
Hastert, 74, has pleaded guilty to structuring cash withdrawals to evade bank-reporting rules for large transactions. That money was used to conceal alleged sexual misconduct — given to a man who says Hastert abused him when he was 14.
The sentencing Wednesday is not about the alleged abuse. The statute of limitations for such a case has ended. But the alleged victim is suing Hastert for not paying the full amount agreed upon between the two. The plaintiff says Hastert has paid $1.7 of a total $3.5 million in “compensation.”
Haster served as House speaker from 1999 to 2007, and was a high school teacher and wresting coach in Yorkville, Ill., in the 1960s and ’70s. According to court documents, it was during this time that Hastert allegedly sexually abused at least four teen boys.
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