Former Speaker Hastert asks judge for probation

Former House Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: Republicans need to get on the same page on health care Feehery: Trump is holding all the cards this November Feehery: Losing faith in the people and the Constitution MORE (R-Ill.) on Wednesday asked a federal judge to keep him out of jail and sentence him to probation instead, saying that he his "deeply sorry" for evading banking rules.


In a sentencing memo, Hastert's lawyers said that he "apologizes for his misconduct that occurred decades ago and the resulting harm he caused to others," though they did not go into specifics about his actions.

Hastert pleaded guilty last year to evading bank reporting requirements for paying millions in a hush money scheme. The former House Speaker was allegedly paying off someone who knew Hastert during his time as a high school wrestling coach and had threatened to disclose allegations that he had sexually abused students.

Though his attorneys did not explicitly mention the sex abuse allegations in the sentencing memo, they did argue that Hastert is taking responsibility for the banking crime.

"He regrets that he resorted to structuring the withdrawal of his money from banks in an effort to prevent the disclosure of that misconduct," the memo reads. 

"Mr. Hastert also apologizes to his family, friends, former constituents, and all others affected by his misconduct. Although the past year has been the most difficult of Mr. Hastert’s seventy-four years, he is prepared to accept responsibility for his conduct and to receive this Court’s sentence."

Hastert has been dealing with health problems after having a stroke in December, which his lawyers argued should be further reason to keep him out of prison.

They also pointed to his remorse and the toll that the media attention has taken on him and his family in arguing that he should be placed on probation.

"Mr. Hastert feels deep regret and remorse for his actions decades ago and is prepared to accept the consequences," his lawyers wrote. "He understands, accepts, and admits that he violated the law. As Mr. Hastert’s counsel, we respectfully request that the Court in imposing a sentence consider the totality of the circumstances that surround this violation, his regret and acceptance of responsibility, the cost that has already been exacted over the past year, as well as Mr. Hastert’s fragile medical condition."