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Ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert hospitalized after having a stroke

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Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert, who pleaded guilty in October in a hush-money case stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct, has suffered a stroke, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Attorney Tom Green said that during the first week of November, Hastert, 73, was admitted to the hospital. Hastert suffered a stroke, was treated for sepsis, had two back surgeries and remains hospitalized, Green said in an emailed statement.

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Hastert, a Republican who led the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007, pleaded guilty on Oct. 28 to one count of “structuring” – withdrawing funds from bank accounts in amounts below $10,000 to evade bank reporting rules. The rules exist to detect money laundering.

Hastert is to be sentenced on Feb. 29 in federal court in Chicago. It is possible sentencing could be postponed due to his health problems. He faces up to five years in prison. Prosecutors recommended a sentence of up to six months.

Green said in his statement that he hopes that Hastert will be released from the hospital in the early part of next year.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said the office does not comment on the medical condition of a defendant.

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Hastert admitted to U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin to paying $1.7 million in cash to an individual he had known for decades to buy that person’s silence and compensate for past misconduct toward that individual.

Prosecutors did not spell out the misconduct, but unnamed law enforcement officials have told media that it was sexual and involved someone Hastert knew when he was a high school teacher and coach in his hometown of Yorkville, Illinois, in the 1960s and 1970s.

In a letter filed with the court on Tuesday, C. William Pollard, a friend of Hastert’s and chairman emeritus of The ServiceMaster Company, asked Durkin to consider Hastert’s “recent hospital stay” in offering probation instead of jail. Pollard called Hastert “a man of integrity.”

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(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Leslie Adler)


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‘Thrones’ seeks final Emmys glory — but ‘Fleabag’ springs surprise

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"Fleabag" star Phoebe Waller-Bridge sprang a major surprise at the Emmys Sunday, besting eight-time acting winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a major upset, on a night when "Game of Thrones" takes its final tilt at television glory.

The dark British comedy -- which has grown into a phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic after being acquired by Amazon -- also scooped the awards for best comedy writing and directing at television's answer to the Oscars.

"It's just really wonderful to know and reassuring that a dirty, pervy, angry, messed-up woman can make it to the Emmys," said Waller-Bridge, referring to her character.

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‘There is no defense for the president to sacrifice national security’: Ex-White House counsel on Ukraine-gate

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President Barack Obama's White House counsel, Bob Bauer, explained during a Sunday MSNBC appearance that one of the worst things President Donald Trump has done in Ukraine-gate is to put American national security in jeopardy.

"Some would like to argue the law didn’t discuss bribery. Let me go beyond that," Bauer began. "There’s not a commentator on the facts that, for example, Carol laid out, and there are more facts to be found out. I think that's the responsibility of the Congress. There's not a scholar or commentator in the know that would believe for a minute it’s not an impeach offense for the president of the United States to sacrifice national security interest of the American people to his political personal gain. I mean, there's not a question about that."

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FIFA chief urges action after racist abuse halts Serie A game

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino said Sunday the problem of racism in Italian football has "not improved" after a Serie A match between Atalanta and Fiorentina was halted for several minutes because of racist abuse of Brazilian Dalbert.

Fiorentina defender Dalbert, 26, asked the referee to halt play after half an hour at the Stadio Ennio Tardini until a warning statement was read out by the stadium speaker to jeers and whistles from the Atalanta fans.

Play resumed after three minutes with visitors Fiorentina leading 1-0 after a goal from Federico Chiesa.

"In Italy the situation has not improved and this is serious," Infantino, in Italy ahead of the FIFA Best Awards on Monday, told the Italian Rai2 channel.

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