Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is among 41 people who wrote letters of support for Dennis Hastert as the former U.S. House speaker heads to sentencing next weeks in his hush-money case, according to a defense filing Friday in Chicago federal court.
Hastert, 74, will be sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty last year to breaking banking laws as he sought to pay $3.5 million to a man to ensure he didn't divulge past misconduct by Hastert. Prosecutors say the core of the misconduct is sexual abuse by Hastert when he coached at Yorkville High outside Chicago.
"He is a good man that loves the Lord," Delay wrote to the sentencing judge. "He gets his integrity and values from Him. He doesn't deserve what he is going through."
U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin said last week that he would not consider any of 60 letters of support for Hastert unless they were filed publicly, so defense attorneys had to go back to the letter writers to get their permission to make them public. Nineteen of the original letters weren't refiled.
Prosecutors say Hastert abused at least four boys at Yorkville High School, where coached wrestling and taught from 1965 until 1981.
The 60 letters were attached to a previous, sealed filing, which conceals the identities of individuals making a case for leniency on behalf of Hastert.
The judge said in in his ruling last week that "usually letters attesting to a defendant's character are part of the public record. He added: "If the defendant wants the court to consider any of these letters ... the defendant must publicly file the letters."
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