A federal indictment of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert for agreeing to pay $3.5 million in hush money, reportedly to keep someone quiet about past sexual misconduct
, "puts the government in the position of essentially being part of the blackmail," Alan Dershowitz tells Newsmax TV.
In an interview with "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth, the noted lawyer and author of "Terror Tunnels: The Case For Israel's Just War Against Hamas,"
calls the former Republican lawmaker "a victim if the story is true of extortion."
"This case just smells," Dershowitz said. "I'm shocked that a prosecutor would allow this kind of case to be brought knowing that it will reveal the secrets, that it would open doors up to things that are alleged or have occurred almost half a century ago. … This is not a case that should've been brought in federal court"
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Dershowitz noted the federal "structuring statutes" Hastert is accused of breaking "were intended to prevent money laundering, to prevent drug dealing, to prevent income tax evasion. "
"Paying hush money is not illegal," Dershowitz said. "He didn't want anybody to know about it, so he took money out in small amounts and the banks wouldn't report it. That is not within the heartland of what this statute was intended to cover – and then to have an indictment which essentially reveals that which Hastert was trying to conceal puts the government in the position of essentially being part of the blackmail – and it's just not right."
Dershowitz called the case "an abusive prosecutorial discretion" for using the structuring statute "to try to go after somebody who was trying to solve a rather personal problem...."
And, he predicted, the feds won't win this one.
"When they go after politicians, whether it be Tom DeLay
or … several other of these high-profile cases, they lose them all," he said. "I suspect they're going to lose this one."
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