Live Blog: Sentencing of Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert | NBC Chicago
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Live Blog: Sentencing of Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert

Refresh this post for live updates from Dennis Hastert's sentencing hearing at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison for breaking federal banking rules in a hush-money scheme attempting to cover up decades of sexual abuse. Phil Rogers reports. (Published Wednesday, April 27, 2016)

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Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison for breaking federal banking rules in a hush-money scheme attempting to cover up decades of sexual abuse. He was also fined $250,000.

Refresh this post for live updates from the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago.

1:42 p.m. Hastert's attorney releases a statement on Hastert's behalf following the sentencing: "Mr. Hastert accepts the sentence imposed by the court today. As he made clear in his own words in addressing the court, he takes sole responsibility for this tragic situation and deeply apologizes to all those affected by his actions. He hopes that he now can focus on addressing his health issues and on healing the emotional damage that has been inflicted on his family and friends who have shown unwavering support throughout this trying time."

1:03 p.m. Fardon says his team didn't treat Hastert any differently because of his political history. "There is and was equal justice under the law," Fardon says.

12:59 p.m. Federal guidelines dictated Hastert couldn't be charged with child molestation, Fardon says.

12:57 p.m. Fardon says he wishes Hastert had been "called to the carpet in 1968." "This isn't perfect, but it's what we got."

12:54 p.m. "This day of reckoning would not have come ... history would have told a lie" if not for law enforcement "tenacity," Fardon says.

12:52 p.m. Fardon calls this a "sad and tragic" case. He said "we saw some extraordinary courage" from Cross, who testified about being sexually abused by Hastert. "That was courageous, that was important ... and I am in awe."

12:33 p.m. U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon is expected to make a statement at 12:45 p.m.

12:27 p.m. Hastert leaves the courthouse in a wheelchair, accompanied by federal Marshals. A crowd across the street yells at him as he gets into a black SUV.

12:26 p.m.
National and local reporters and cameras crowd around the entrance of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse for Hastert's departure following his sentencing.

12:24 p.m. Federal protective services arrives to meet Hastert when he leaves the courthouse.

12:06 p.m. Statement from Tom Cross on behalf of the Cross family: "We are very proud of Scott for having the courage to relive this very painful part of his life in order to ensure that justice is done today. We hope his testimony will provide courage and strength to other victims of other cases of abuse to speak out and advocate for themselves. With his testimony concluded, we ask now that you respect Scott’s privacy and that of our family."

12:02 p.m. SNAP releases a statement following Hastert's sentence: "We’re grateful that Dennis Hastert will be jailed. Jailing child molesters, even elderly ones, is the best way to protect kids. Jailing him might also deter others from hiding child sex crimes."

11:56 a.m. Court adjourned. The judge has left the bench, but Hastert and his attorneys remain in the courtroom.

11:55 a.m. Judge Durkin: "I hope I never see a case like this again." Court ended.

11:55 a.m. No surrender date will be set until a Level 4 facility can be determined for Hastert to be imprisoned.

11:53 a.m. No emotion from Dennis Hastert or his attorneys following the 15-month sentence handed down from Judge Durkin.

11:52 a.m. Dennis Hastert sentenced to 15 months in prison and fined $250,000. Hastert must also undergo sex offender treatment.

11:51 a.m. Judge: "It gives me no pleasure to sentence Mr. Hastert. … It's sad for our country."

11:48 a.m. Judge Durkin says Rochester Prison is filled with sex offenders, "so the defendant would be surrounded by inmates with similar backgrounds."

11:47 a.m. Judge Durkin says Hastert's medical needs can be met in prison

11:41 a.m. Judge says Hastert's age (74) will not deter him from sentencing him to prison. "You tried to set up Victim A in your 70s."

11:38 a.m. Judge: "It's hard to look at Mr. Cross, who's in his 50s and know that this happened when he was 17 and he's still damaged."

11:37 a.m. Judge Durkin: "Any sentence I give you today would pale in comparison to what you would face in state court [if charged with sex abuse]."

11:36 a.m. Judge Durkin: "You had choices to make. The criminal conduct here was not inevitable."

11:34 a.m. Judge Durkin: "The obvious motive for your lies is not lost on me."

11:31 a.m. Judge Durkin describes what happened to 'Victim A.' "It was child molestation. It was sexual abuse."

11:30 a.m. Judge Durkin: "Nothing worse than using 'serial child molester' and 'Speaker of the House' in the same sentence."

11:29 a.m. Judge Durkin is now discussing all the letters written on behalf of Hastert. "No question he had done a lot of good for a lot of people," he said.

11:27 a.m. Judge Durkin says he agrees with the letter written by SNAP

11:25 a.m. Judge Durkin: "I believe the actions you took with 'Victim A' were thought-out and desperate."

11:24 a.m. Judge: "He was a victim decades ago and you tried to make him the victim again."

11:23 a.m. Judge Durkin: "Accusing 'Victim A' of extortion was unconscionable."

11:22 a.m. Judge Durkin admonishes Hastert for lying to the FBI and says if he didn't lie, he probably would have gotten probation.

11:21 a.m. Judge: "If you told the truth, I'm not sure we'd here today. ... You took the money out of the bank because you sexually abused a boy."

11:19 a.m. Judge Durkin: "He intentionally lied and misled the FBI."

11:18 a.m. Judge Durkin listened to the tapes. "No question in my mind the defendant knew he was in trouble and didn't want to reveal a dark secret."

11:14 a.m. Judge Durkin: "I've never seen a more obvious and clear cut violation of bank structuring laws."

11:13 a.m. Judge Durkin: "What rational person takes out $1.7 million in cash over four years."

11:12 a.m. Judge Durkin refers to Victim A. "They are victims. Not individuals."

11:09 a.m. Judge Durkin calls Hastert a "serial child molester."

11:03 a.m. Judge Durkin is now talking about the terms of probation. He says he will rule on any possible jail time in a few minutes.

11:02 a.m. When asked by the prosecutor, "So you did sexually abuse [Steve Reinboldt], Hastert says "yes."

11:01 a.m. Asked by the prosecutor if he abused Scott Cross, Hastert says, "I don't remember doing that, but I accept his statement."

11 a.m. Hastert apologizes for what he's put his family through. He apologizes to the court and is ready to accept the sentence imposed on him.

11 a.m. "I want to say sorry to those I've hurt. What I did was wrong and I regret it. They looked up to me and what I did was wrong."

10:59 a.m. "For 11 months, I struggled to come to terms with what happened four decades ago."

10:59 a.m. "I'm ashamed to be standing before you today," Hastert says. "I am the one solely responsible for being here today."

10:58 a.m. Dennis Hastert stands, about to make a statement on his behalf.

10:57 a.m. Defense Attorney Green closes by asking for probation.

10:56 a.m. Green: "I told [Hastert] he needs to revisit the earlier part of his life and understand the origins of his misconduct."

10:55 a.m. Green: "This is one of the most tragic and sad cases I've ever encountered. ... His life will forever be comprised and diminished."

10:54 a.m. Defense Attorney Thomas Green says he hopes Judge Durkin's sentence will not increase the risks to Hastert's health.

10:49 a.m. Green: "In the last 11 months ... all [Hastert's] achievements and good deeds have been removed ... all of it eclipsed by acts that occurred years ago."

10:48 a.m. Green says Hastert was honored by the country, Columbia, for his fight against drugs. But says his proudest achievement is his family.

10:46 a.m. Green is now going through Hastert's resume. "He was by all accounts a remarkable leader who guided this country through difficult times."

10:45 a.m. Defense attorney Thomas Green confirms that Hastert victim Scott Cross' older brother is Rep. Tom Cross.

10:42 a.m. "Mr. Hastert was unable to confront his past," Green said.

10:41 a.m. Dennis Hastert has his hands folded and stares at the ground while his defense attorney appears before Judge Durkin.

10:40 a.m. "When approximately six years ago, a former student confronted him about sex abuse, my client was frightened and he made some poor decisions."

10:39 a.m. "Rarely if ever has there been a sentence or confinement for this kind of structuring," Hastert's defense attorney says.

10:38 a.m. Thomas Green, defense attorney, hopes his "words will be adequate as he (Judge Durkin) decides Hastert's sentence."

10:36 a.m. Block: "Defendant said this would be his most difficult day. ... Their (the victims') most difficult day was in a hotel or locker room decades ago."

10:35 a.m. "Defendant's attempt to quiet 'Individual A' with a payoff shows just how desperately he wanted to keep his dark secret."

10:34 a.m. Block: "Defendant knew he was trying to build a criminal case against 'Individual A' even though 'Individual A' never committed a crime."

10:33 a.m. "He chose the worst possible course to protect his dark secret," Block said.

10:32 a.m. "'Individual A' clearly stated he wanted to protect his identity and would only testify if absolutely necessary," Block said.

10:31 a.m. Prosecutor Steven Block: "The justice comes with the sentence imposed, for the crimes he was never held accountable for."

10:29 a.m. Scott Cross was very emotional during his statement, tearing up at times. When he finished, there was clapping in the courtroom.

10:28 a.m. "Judge Durkin, I want you to know the pain he caused me then, and the pain he's causing me now," Cross said.

10:27 a.m. "This entire experience has been enormously painful for me and my family," Cross said. "It's been a huge personal struggle."

10:26 a.m. Cross: "After this prosecution became public, I told my brother and wife that happened.

10:25 a.m. Cross: "As a 17-year-old boy, I was devastated. I felt alone and embarrassed."

10:24 a.m. Cross: "He pulled down my shorts, grabbed my penis and began to rub me. I was stunned by what he was doing, grabbed my shorts and ran out."

10:23 a.m. "I was alone with Coach Hastert in the locker room. Coach Hastert said I could make weight by giving me a massage. I trusted him."

10:22 a.m. As a senior Cross was the captain of the wrestling team. "As a high school wrestler, I looked up to Hastert. He was a key figure in my life."

10:21 a.m. Individual D identifies himself as Scott Cross. Cross is the brother of State Rep. Tom Cross. He is 53 years old, married with two kids. He lives in the Chicago area.

10:20 a.m. "Individual D" begins testifying

10:19 a.m. "He stands here today, free and at peace. Our victory is this man is finally being brought to justice," Burdge says.

10:18 a.m. "He betrayed, ashamed and embarrassed. You were supposed to keep him safe. Not violate him. You took his innocence and turned it against him"

10:16 a.m. "I hope I've been your worst nightmare," Burdge said. "What you did wasn't misconduct. It was sexual abuse of a minor."

10:15 a.m. "I would confront him face to face and make him accountable Stand here 20 years later with truth on my side," Burdge says.

10:12 a.m. Jolene Burdge, the sister of an alleged victim, begins testifying, reading a letter written by her brother Stephen Reinholdt. "He spent his last years alone, waiting to die," she said.

10:10 a.m. Prosecutor Steven Block says there will be two people testifying. Jolene Burdge and "Individual D."

10:08 a.m. Judge Durkin says the pre-sentence memorandum was well written. Hastert says he's read all the documents.

10:02 a.m.
Dennis Hastert is wheeled into the courtroom. A walker is placed next to him.

9:46 a.m. Media just allowed in the overflow room to begin covering the sentencing. Lines are still forming outside the main courtroom

7:10 a.m. Hastert arrives to Chicago's Dirksen Federal Courthouse ahead of his scheduled 10 a.m. sentencing hearing. He was seen getting out of a large SUV before being wheeled into the building.


Judge Durkin: "I've never seen a more obvious and clear cut violation of bank structuring laws" #hastert

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