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Rhoads: The Hastert Sentencing Mess



By Mark Rhoads - Hastert

It is very difficult to separate the issue of child abuse from the issue of violation of banking regulations and lying to federal agents in the sentencing phase of the case against former Speaker Dennis Hastert. But it is still necessary for Judge Thomas Durkin to try to keep the issues separate.

The reason is that Hastert was never charged with child abuse of four former students and he did not plead guilty to charges like that even though covering up the abuse was the reason Hastert agreed to pay money to Individual A who was a victim of abuse many years ago. Hastert did plead guilty to the felony of violating banking regulations and that is what he is being sentenced for.

In a normal criminal trial in a lesser court or under even in federal rules of evidence, a defendant's "prior bad acts" may not be introduced in evidence unless they directly bear on the current charge. In the case of Hastert, the connection is indirect and the prior bad acts were only spelled out by prosecutors to explain the motive of Hastert for his banking crimes.

Hastert claimed to be the victim of blackmail but prosecutors say that is not true. But common sense tells us that when money is paid to keep a crime a secret, the payments certainly have the appearance of payment of blackmail. Individual A has just sued Hastert for "breach of contract" for failure to pay the balance of an agreed 3.5 million dollars, but of course there is no written contract and normally contracts for illegal purposes are not enforceable.

What a mess! In court Hastert has pled guilty to violating currency regulations and that is what his sentence must be for.  But in a wider court of public opinion, Hastert's history of child abuse many years ago has been revealed.

But as despicable as child abuse is, a defendant still has the right to be sentenced only for the crime he was actually charged with.


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  1. Another great reason to vote for Trump: he won’t pardon Hastert out of his lengthy, dehumanizing prison sentence. Hastert greatly benefited from the banning of incandescent light bulbs while he was Speaker, which were actually being manufactured in the U.S. SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

  2. Joe does the word “relevance” mean anything at all to you? Hastert was never charged with supporting new light bulbs either as if that were some sort of crime. Clarity of thought is not your strong suit. There are no great reasons to vote for a stupid demagogue like Trump and shame on those who do for their refusal to study his real record.

  3. I wonder if voters had studied Reagan’s record as Governor of CA would they have found it much different than Trump’s? Especially on social issues. People change. Policies need to change too, especially economic ones as conditions change. Trump is the candidate for our time.

  4. Frank what are you talking about? Reagan had a solid conservative record as governor of California for 8 years but Donald Trump has no government record at all because he has never been elected to any office. You say that people change but what evidence do you have that Trump has ever really changed his childish personality. He is a child at age 70 and cannot help himself. That is not a person that could be trusted with access to nuclear codes.

  5. There’s a video of Reagan after he got rid of the Berkeley protest. It’s pure Trump. I’m not kidding. He even uses Trump language to describe those people. Stuff that the Governor of Maine is being ridiculed for right now by PC brats X 10.

  6. I think having another child near age 60 will change anyone. Barron is his youngest and Donald wants to make sure that he also has a great country to live in. I’m sure he got to see the ultrasound for him as well and maybe that helped change his views on abortion.
    Trump may be brash. But that is tactical. He is a candidate who knows how to stoke the modern media just as FDR knew how to use the radio medium of his time.
    Reagan also raised taxes in California besides his having more liberal views on abortion at the time.