Former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Dennis Hastert has plead guilty to federal charges involving a hush-money case.
The allegations stated that Hastert avoided bank regulations regarding large cash transactions. Hastert was supposedly using this money to keep a person quiet about sexual misconduct that once took place. The individual who Hastert was paying money was never identified.
While federal prosecutors told the judge that the recommended sentence is zero to six months in prison, the judge has the authority to sentence Hastert to up to five years in prison with a maximum fine of $250,000.
With the plea, Hastert, who was once one of the most powerful and influential politicians in the United States, has experienced a tremendous downfall.
Hastert made the guilty plea in federal court in Chicago. By making the plea, Hastert will have his charge of lying to federal investigators dropped.
The former House Speaker was once a high school teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in Yorkville, IL. According to allegations, Hastert made inappropriate sexual contact with a student during his tenure at the school. Hastert was allegedly bribing the former student with money to keep quiet about the incident.
Hastert worked at Yorkville High School from 1973 until 1980.
Large withdrawals from banks are required to be reported. However, Hastert structured these withdrawals so that he did not have to report them. Hastert allegedly did this in order to keep the true purpose of the money a secret.
Hastert was the Speaker of the House for eight years, from 1999 until his retirement in 2007. He will face sentencing on “leap day”, February 29th of next year.
Meanwhile, his alma mater of Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL has promised to remove all references on their campus to the former House Speaker. Hastert graduated from Wheaton College in 1964 with a degree in economics.