Ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert's Wife Writes Judge, Pleading For Mercy

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert is accused of paying hush money to cover up sexual abuse

Letters of support written on behalf of Dennis Hastert were released Friday, including one from the former House Speaker's wife, pleading with Judge Thomas Durkin to consider Hastert's family in his sentencing decision.

"I have never known a more honorable and devoted man," Jean Hastert wrote about her husband of nearly 43 years. "He has spent his life in the service of others."

Hastert pleaded guilty in 2015 to charges that he intentionally disguised millions of dollars in bank withdrawals in a hush-money scheme to cover up decades of sexual abuse of young men, including students he interacted with as a high school wrestling coach.

“He has always been selfless with his time and talents and has been incredibly devoted to the success of others,” Hastert’s wife wrote in the letter dated March 2. "If one of his students or wrestlers ever needed anything of him, he would be there for them, and he was never happier than when he could watch someone he helped succeed."

She mentions his volunteer work, saying he taught college courses and volunteered as late as last summer, and that “given the time and if his health improves, he will continue to help others and find ways to give back to his communities.”

"Denny's selflessness has not been without cost, however," she adds. “Because he spent so much of his career away from home helping others, we always looked forward to his retirement so that we could spend more time together. Now, with his failing health, I worry about how much time we will ever get together.”

Hastert was hospitalized in November after suffering a stroke. He will face two accusers at his sentencing, which is scheduled for April 27.

“This has taken a terrible toll on our family,” his wife’s letter closes. “Please consider us when determining an appropriate sentence.”

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