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Former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert Pleads Guilty To Lying To FBI

October 28, 2015

Prosecutors today recommended no more than six months in prison for former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who pleaded guilty to lying about $3.5 million in hush money.

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors were expected to drop a charge that Hastert violated federal banking laws. 

Hastert’s brief written statement was narrow, saying that he structured bank withdrawals in a way that they would not be detected.

The Illinois Republican explained why he lied to the FBI, saying simply, “I didn’t want them to know how I intended to spend the money.”

The judge asked Hastert, “Did you know that what you were doing was wrong?”

He responded, “Yes, sir.”

The change-of-plea hearing was the longtime GOP leader’s first court appearance since his arraignment in June, when he pleaded not guilty in the same courtroom in Chicago.

A May 28 indictment accused Hastert of handing as much as $100,000 in cash at a time to someone referred to only as “Individual A” to ensure past misconduct by Hastert against the person never became public.

The Associated Press and other media, citing anonymous sources, have reported that the payments were meant to conceal claims of sexual misconduct decades ago of a male high school student.

The plea helped seal the downfall of a man who rose from obscurity in rural Illinois to the nation’s third-highest political office.
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