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Hastert judge delivered verbal equivalent of public flogging

CHICAGO — When he sentenced Dennis Hastert to more than a year in prison, the judge in the former House speaker's hush-money case delivered the verbal equivalent of a public flogging.

Before imposing the 15-month sentence, U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin spent nearly an hour Wednesday rebuking the 74-year-old Republican for sexually abusing high school athletes decades ago, when he was a wrestling coach.

Hastert was the nation's longest-serving GOP speaker who for eight years was second in the line of succession to the presidency.

The judge drew special attention to the lies Hastert told federal investigators last year in a desperate bid to keep his dark secret hidden. He portrayed Hastert's fall from grace as traumatic, not only for his victims but for the country.

Michael Tarm, The Associated Press

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