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Dennis Hastert released from federal prison

While a great deal of media attention has been dedicated to O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has quietly left federal prison. Hastert, known as the longest serving Republican speaker was released on Monday and moved to a halfway house in Chicago where he will serve the remainder of his 15 month sentence for bank fraud.

The fraud conviction stems from a 2015 guilty plea following revelations that he withdrew $925,000 from four separate accounts in more than 100 separate transactions in order to avoid federal reporting requirements. The funds were later learned to be “hush money” payments to a former student to conceal years of sexual abuse by Hastert against high school students. 

As part of his plea deal, Hastert did not directly admit to sexually abusing students, but he apologized publicly at his sentencing and said “What I did was wrong and I regret it.” Hastert was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in his native Illinois from 1965 to 1981.

By the time of his release, Hastert will have served 13 months of his 15 month sentence. He still will be required to pay $250,000 in fines and receive sex offender treatment. The story is an example of why it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side when you are accused of a sex crime. The stigma that comes with these crimes is very unique, and it is almost like the accused must prove themselves innocent instead of the state proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The preceding is not legal advice.

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