Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is being sentenced in federal court in Chicago, was pleaded guilty to paying $1.7 million in hush money to cover up some misconduct from his early days when he was a teacher and wrestling coach on 2010.

Hastert’s lawyers said that Dennis shouldn’t spend time in prison, due to his long history of public service. He also claimed that Hastert “nearly died” just days after entering his guilty plea after suffering a fall, a stroke, a spinal injury and blood infection.

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was found guilty for paying $1.7 million to cover up some misconduct from when he was a teacher and wrestling coach on 2010. Credit: Chicago Tribune

Dennis Hastert entered the courthouse in downtown Chicago on Wednesday in a wheelchair, where he might be dealing with a sentence from zero to six months on potential prison term. This is a range that federal prosecutors say is appropriate, Prosecutors say.

On the court documents, they say they know of five victims, four still living, which could claim that Hastert engaged them in unwanted sex acts with them while they were teens back in 1970s.

Until today, Hastert was never been charged for those crimes, as said before; he pleaded guilty to financial crimes related to $1.7 million he paid to buy the silence of one of the victims who confronted him about abuse allegations decades earlier.

Blackmailing before demanding?

Federal prosecutors said that Hastert did indeed tell them he was being blackmailed by Individual A (the victim), who has been threatened to go public with his abuse allegations, and agreed to tape phone conversations with Individual A.

When Hastert was on the phone with Individual A, FBI agents said the supposed blackmailer sounded awfully sympathetic when Hastert said he would need to delay payments.

Individual A contacted Hastert back in 2010 after Hastert had left Congress and begun his lucrative career as a lobbyist. After Individual A confronted Hastert about the abuse, Hastert agreed to pay him $3.5 million to don’t say a thing.

Hastert made a series of large bank withdrawals and started to hand over the cash, where about $1.7 million changed hands.

These bank withdrawals were suspect to bank officials, who actually asked Hastert about the large sums he was pulling out of his accounts. Hastert, after that, began making his withdrawals in amounts smaller than $10,000 to avoid that kind of situations, where he was pulling out nearly $1 million in more than 100 transactions.

Now Hastert will face what will be his darkest day without a doubt, when the former lawmaker appears on Wednesday for his long-awaited sentence. This case that is expected to draw reporters from around the country to the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago.

Source: Washington Post