The wife and sons of Dennis Hastert and former politicians have written letters asking a judge to spare the ex-Speaker of the House prison in his hush-money case, according to court documents made public Friday.
Prosecutors are asking that Hastert, 74, be sentenced to six months in prison for structuring withdrawals to avoid bank reporting laws. Hastert's attorneys are asking for probation.
The funds were allegedly paid as hush-money to a man who was sexually abused at age 14 by Hastert when he was the boy's wrestling coach; prosecutors have alleged four victims in all.
Hastert, a Republican, led the House for eight years before retiring in 2007.
Among those writing letters of support was former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who called Hastert "a good man that loves the Lord" and said "he doesn't deserve what he is going through."
Former CIA director Porter Goss also wrote a letter attesting to Hastert's character and leadership, and said many in the House saw him as "Mr. Main Street, America."
Forty-one letters were made public in all. They include letters from Hastert's wife and two sons, and Hastert's brother.
"Please, as you determine my father's sentence, keep in mind the fact that he spent 35 years of his life serving the public good," Hastert's son Joshua said in a letter filed with the court.
"He now has myriad medical issues and he should be with his family and not in the medical division of a correctional institution," the letter reads.
Former U.S. representative Thomas Ewing said in his letter that Hastert has already suffered.
"I can think of nothing more devastating to my friend than the current cause of action before your court," Ewing wrote. "He cherished his reputation and legacy but even more he mourns the suffering and trauma it has caused his wife Jean, and their two sons, Joshua and Ethan."
Hastert pleaded guilty in October one count of illegally structuring cash withdrawals in order to evade financial reporting requirements.
Sentencing is set for April 27.