The Chicago Tribune has a devastating report on former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), who will soon be sentenced for banking violations that are connected to past sexual abuse during his original career as a high school wrestling coach.
The article finds that at least four different people have made credible allegations against the man who was later two steps away from the presidency. And what's more, Hastert did something truly unbelievable: He asked one of his victim's family members to write him a character reference for the judge.
The Tribune reports: "With the sentencing hearing looming, a source said Hastert called one of Individual D's relatives, hoping to get a letter to show Hastert had done good things with his life; that letter could help persuade [U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin] to give Hastert a more lenient sentence."
So did it work? Not so much: "Individual D then made a call of his own. He told federal authorities he would prepare a statement to be used in court detailing what Hastert did to him."
Hastert pled guilty last year to charges of structuring his cash withdrawals in chunks of less than $10,000 each, in order to evade bank reporting regulations. The cash was being withdrawn in order to pay hush money to an alleged past victim of sexual molestation, referred to by prosecutors as "Individual A."
Under the terms of Hastert's plea deal, prosecutors have recommended a sentence ranging from probation to six months in prison — but under the law itself, Judge Durkin still has the option to sentence Hastert for up to five years.
At least one person, the sister of one of Hastert's past victims who later passed away from AIDS complications, plans to appear in court to make a victim-impact statement at the sentencing hearing.