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Hastert judge won’t consider support letters unless they’re made public

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Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

CHICAGO (AP) – The judge in Dennis Hastert’s hush-money case says that if the former House speaker wants letters of support considered during his sentencing, they must be made public.

Hastert is to be sentenced April 27 after pleading guilty last year to breaking federal banking laws. Prosecutors say he paid to conceal sex abuse when he was a high-school wrestling coach.

U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin said in a Thursday filing that the court won’t consider 60 letters “unless they are publicly filed.” The letters were attached to a previous, sealed filing.

Hastert’s defense attorneys didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment Friday.

Prosecutors haven’t asked for a specific sentence for the 74-year-old Republican, whose attorneys have requested probation.

Durkin could impose the maximum penalty of five years in prison.