This High-Ranking Former Politician Is Now In Prison

Photo: Jim Spellman/Getty Images.
Update: Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has arrived at a federal prison to start his 15-month prison sentence, The Associated Press reports. The 74-year-old Republican is one of the highest-ranking politicians to serve time, according to The AP.
Update April 27, 2016: A judge sentenced former House Speaker Dennis Hastert to more than a year in prison Wednesday, condemning him as a "serial child molester" as he announced the punishment in the high-profile in hush-money case involving one of the nation's most powerful former politicians.
Hastert pleaded guilty to breaking the law when he concealed millions of dollars in payments in an apparent effort to cover up sex-abuse allegations he faced. In addition to 15 months in prison, he must complete sex-offender treatment, and pay $250,000 to a fund for crime victims, according to The Associated Press.

Speaking in court, Hastert issued an apology "to the boys I mistreated when I was their coach," according to NBC News. The 74-year-old former politician did not use the word abuse, NBC reports.

"What I did was wrong and I regret it," he said. "They looked up to me and I took advantage of them."

This story was originally published June 9, 2015.

Dennis Hastert, once one of the most powerful politicians in America, comes out of hiding today to appear in court. Hastert, a former Congressman from Illinois, faces charges of bank fraud for withdrawing $3.5 million and lying to the FBI about it. But, the real scandal is what the money was for: Hastert allegedly withdrew the sum to pay an unnamed individual whom he had sexually abused while working as a schoolteacher. If convicted, Hastert faces up to five years in prison on each count.

We should also mention that when Hastert was Speaker of the House, he led the charge to impeach Bill Clinton over a consensual affair.

According to an interview with ABC News, Steve Reinboldt told his sister, Jolene Burge, in 1979 that Hastert — who was his high school wrestling coach — had sexually abused him for years. Reinboldt said he didn't think anyone would believe him if he came forward about it; he died in 1995. Burge says she tried to tell the media about her brother's allegations in 2007 — and she came forward about them once again last week.
Hastert has hired powerful Washington attorney Thomas Green to represent him, but some of the lawyer's former clients seem like questionable company to keep: Green has represented clients connected to the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s and the Whitewater investigation of the 1990s.
Related Video:

More from US News


R29 Original Series