Dennis Hastert to appear in court, Wheaton Center advisers testify in defense

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin told lawyers on Wednesday that Hastert’s claims that he was “extorted” by Individual A, an alleged victim of sexual misconduct, will be a key factor in the sentencing later this month. “That’s not conduct that’s 40 years old. That’s conduct that’s less than a year old,” Durkin told lawyers.

In October, Hastert plead guilty to structuring withdrawals in order to pay $3.5 million to Individual A. Just one week after the trial, Hastert was hospitalized for a stroke and underwent treatment for sepsis, a blood infection and two back surgeries. He was released from the hospital on Jan 15, initially pushing the sentencing back to April 8.

Durkin announced last month that he would delay sentencing yet again until April 27 to allow time to hear from several individuals claiming they were victims of misconduct. Prosecutors have identified four former wrestlers for Yorkville High School and an equipment manager for the team as victims of sexual misconduct by Hastert between 1965 and 1981. The victims have not yet been named.

Last week, Hastert’s lawyers said their client felt “deep regret and remorse” for his actions and asked that Durkin consider probation rather than the alternative of up to six months in prison. Most of the lawyers’ argument is anchored in 74-year-old Hastert’s poor health and continuing need for treatment.

Three individuals who are on the advisory board for the Wheaton Center for Faith, Politics and Economics have come forward in support of Hastert. Bill Pollard, former CEO of the ServiceMaster Company, Floyd Kvamme, a venture capitalist in California, and PJ Hill, a senior fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center in Montana, are former colleagues of Hastert and approached Durkin to speak to Hastert’s deteriorating health, public service record and his association with Wheaton College.

A court transcript from a March hearing stated that an alleged victim could speak at Hastert’s April 27 sentencing, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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