Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert released from prison

Former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert was released the Federal Medical Center, Rochester, Minn., (FMC Rochester) on Tuesday after serving a 13 month prison sentence for “structuring” financial transactions to deceive federal regulators.

Mr. Hastert was sentenced in April 2016 to 15 months for his role in a scheme to silence an accuser Hastert sexually abused decades before when employed as a high school educator in Yorkville, Ill.

Hastert’s crimes were exposed when federal authorities confronted him in late 2014 over the 75-year-old former Speaker’s structured withdrawals of large cash sums eventually revealed to be hush-money payments.  According to FBI agents, Hastert made false statements to investigators.

Shortly after, the FBI learned payments were delivered to one now described as “Individual A,” to whom Hastert has entered into an agreement with to pay $3.5 million for silence over the past sexual abuse.

In a seven-page indictment issued in May 2016 charged Hastert with unlawfully “structuring” over $900,000 in hush money payments and lying to the FBI.  As part of a plea agreement, Hastert entered a guilty plea in October 2015 to a felony “structuring” charge; the charge of lying to the FBI was dropped.

Hastert was sentenced in April 2016 and reported to prison in June 2016.

Under the terms of his release, Hastert is required to undergo regular court-supervised sex-offender treatment.  The Federal Bureau of Prisons released the former Speaker under the supervision of a Chicago-area re-entry program.  It is not known whether Hastert is required to remain in a halfway house or is living at home.

One of Hastert’s victims, Scott Cross, told CNN he is troubled by the elderly politician’s release, but is now “just trying to move on.”

Originally elected to serve Illinois’ 14th Congressional District, Hastert would be returned to office an additional 10 times, retiring in 2007.

Hastert served as the 51st Speaker of the House from 1999–2008. His official release date from any type of custody is set for Aug. 16.


[Reuters] [Chicago Sun Times] [Photo courtesy AP/Charles Rex Arbogast via Fortune]