The Latest: Hastert lawyers: Sex-abuse claim "ambiguous"

AP News
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Posted: Apr 13, 2016 2:18 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on a hearing concerning former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert's sentencing for hush-money payments and a newly unsealed filing from his defense (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Dennis Hastert's lawyers are questioning whether what the former U.S. House speaker did to a former wrestler to whom he agreed to pay $3.5 million was actually sexual abuse.

A defense filing unsealed Wednesday calls "ambiguous" a motel-room incident given by the man at the center of the hush-money case, known in court papers as "Individual A." Individual A was 14 and Hastert was a high school wrestling coach at the time.

Hastert's pleaded guilty to breaking banking law as he sought to pay Individual A. His sentencing is April 27.

Prosecutors say Individual A said Hastert suggested he could massage the boy's groin injury and touched him inappropriately. They described it as sexual abuse.

Defense attorneys say they "are not so certain that the incident qualifies as sexual misconduct" but that Hastert "deeply regrets" the episode.

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10:10 a.m.

Prosecutors say they expect one person who accuses Dennis Hastert of sexual abuse to speak at his sentencing in his hush-money case, and the judge has indicated that he wants to consider that the former U.S. House speaker lied to federal authorities.

Prosecutor Steven Block told Judge Thomas M. Durkin in court Wednesday that he expects someone identified in court papers as "Individual D" to make a statement at the sentencing April 27. Durkin also asked questions about Hastert lying to the FBI about an "Individual A" extorting him.

Hastert has pleaded guilty to breaking banking law in a scheme to pay $3.5 million to ensure "Individual A" stayed silent about being abused when he was a 14-year-old student at the Illinois high school where Hastert was the wrestling coach.