Attorneys for former U.S. House speaker J. Dennis Hastert have asked a federal judge to postpone his Feb. 29 sentencing, saying they have been unable to prepare as Hastert has worked to recover from a stroke, blood infection and spinal surgery.
The attorneys wrote that Hastert (R) was released from the hospital only a week ago, and he will need home care and rehabilitation for at least four to six weeks and probably outpatient physical therapy after that. They wrote Hastert “continues to need assistance for most daily activities, and also needs both a walker and a leg brace to walk in his household.”
Hastert was first hospitalized for a variety of medical conditions in November, his attorneys wrote.
“As a result of his medical condition and ongoing care, Mr. Hastert and his counsel have been unable to prepare for sentencing; efforts to date have necessarily been, and in the near future will continue to be, focused on Mr. Hastert’s recovery,” the attorneys wrote.
Hastert, 74, was charged in July with breaking federal banking laws and lying to investigators — ostensibly dull counts that prosecutors alleged stemmed from an intriguing plot. According to an indictment, Hastert, who was a teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville, Ill., before he got into politics in the early 1980s, agreed to pay someone $3.5 million to cover up “past misconduct” against the person.
Hastert pleaded guilty in October to violating federal banking laws as part a deal with prosecutors that allowed him to avoid a thorough public reckoning of the sexual allegations that generated the case. Federal sentencing guidelines call for him to face zero to six months in prison, although experts have said they expect he will face only probation.
Hastert’s lawyers wrote that prosecutors did not oppose their request to delay the sentencing, and they asked the judge to schedule a status hearing on March 7.