|HASTERT: May learn next month if trial required|
For it seems that Hastert’s attorneys on Monday (Hastert himself wasn’t in court) told U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin that they wanted a continuance because they believed they were very close to negotiating a plea deal with the U.S. attorney’s office.
WHICH WOULD HAVE Hastert shift his “not guilty” pleas on at least part of the charges, in exchange for eliminating the need for a criminal trial at which time evidence would have to be presented about the alleged wrongdoing.
If there is never a trial, then the general public will never get more than the speculation that currently exists about what exactly it was that Hastert did wrong.
Federal prosecutors have said that Hastert, after he ceased being the House speaker, made an agreement with one of his former students back when he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School to pay some $3.5 million.
Prosecutors say he made withdrawals of his own money in ways that were meant to evade detection – which is a technical violation. Although one can argue that Hastert has the right to spend his money however he wants – no matter how strange it seems to pay it to a former student.
WHAT WE DON’T know specifically is why Hastert would want to do so. Although the Chicago Tribune reported claims that Hastert had taken advantage of the student in a sexual manner, and now wanted to make sure the one-time student kept his mouth shut.
But that is speculation. We don’t have that “on the record” in any way.
And there are people who are eager for that to come out publicly in the form of a trial. They want to know sordid details of whether Hastert really did do something wrong with one of his students.
Mostly for their own cheap titillation factor. Although I’m sure some political operatives will find ways to use the fact that a one-time House speaker who was Republican somehow reflects upon all of his GOP colleagues.
WHICH MAY WELL be why Hastert would consider entering a “guilty” plea, particularly if his legal counsel is capable of working out an agreement that would put the potential for incarceration at a minimum.
Perhaps even no prison time, but some sort of significant fine. I don’t know for sure what is being considered. Although I’m sure Hastert is most concerned with reducing his level of shame to the bare minimum – as in no more than he has already suffered.
While those people eager for a trial are most concerned with bolstering the shame level to the maximum – even if it means playing off the homophobic fears and thoughts that some in our society are determined to cling to.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing this case go away – largely because the offenses that might be considered the most serious aren’t going to be the key to any criminal prosecution of Hastert. The statute of limitations on any acts committed against students is long past – they’re so old.
THIS WOULD TURN into a technical trial on financial matters that some will try to exaggerate into titillation for their own benefits.
There’s also the fact that Hastert is a retired politico – similar to Edward R. Vrdolyak when he was finally caught and wound up doing about one year at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.
Is that going to be Hastert’s fate as well?
If so, we need to realize that it won’t change anything – people who back Hastert will continue to do so, while those who want his “head on a pike” so to speak will forevermore be displeased by the outcome of any legitimate trial.