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Dennis Hastert Lawyers Seek Sentence of Probation for Banking Law Violations

by Pete Williams /  / Updated 
Image: Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrives at the federal courthouse
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrives at the federal courthouse on June 9, 2015, in Chicago for his arraignment on federal charges that he broke federal banking laws and lied about the money when questioned by the FBI.Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

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Lawyers for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert are urging s judge to impose a punishment of probation, when his sentence is announced later this month.

"Mr. Hastert's fall from grace has been swift and devastating," they said in a pre-sentence memo filed Wednesday.

He is profoundly sorry for his "mistakes in judgment and his transgressions," and the judge should consider the entirety of his career, "including the fact that he reshaped his life many years ago."

Image: Dennis Hastert
Former House Speaker Dennis HastertPaul Beaty / AP

He is prepared to accept the consequences and admits that he violated the law, they said. But given the heavy toll the case has taken on him, and his fragile medical condition, "the defense respectfully requests that this court impose a sentence of probation."

Hastert pleaded guilty in October to violating federal banking laws. Investigators have said he was trying to conceal hush money payments to a former student he abused decades ago as a high school wrestling coach.

His sentencing, delayed because of his health problems, is now scheduled for April 27.

The defense lawyers said Hastert is "overwhelmed by the guilt he feels for his actions, for the harm he caused by his misconduct, and for disappointing those who has supported him for so long."

In addition to suffering humiliation and isolation, they said, he has a rare blood infection that required hospitalization for two months, during which he nearly died.

"Mr. Hastert continues to need assistance with all major activities of daily living except for feeding himself — he needs assistance getting out of bed, toileting, bathing and dressing."

A pre-sentencing memo from federal prosecutors is due Friday.

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