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Tom Delay, others defend Dennis Hastert in letters to court

Dennis Hastert’s legal team filed dozens of letters in federal court in Chicago on Friday from individuals expressing support for the former House speaker in preparation for his sentencing on Wednesday.

Rep. Tom DeLay, the former House majority whip who helped position Hastert for his role as speaker, wrote that he is a man of “strong faith” and “great integrity.”

DeLay ‘s letter is one of some 40 documents signed by former colleagues and relatives as part of ongoing legal efforts to defend Hastert’s character following his pleading guilty to illegally structuring $900,000 used in payments to an individual, and allegations that he sexually abused multiple teenage boys in Illinois over 30 years ago while serving as a high school teacher and wrestling coach.

DeLay details their relationship of nearly three decades, 12 years of which they spent working “side by side.”

“I have observed him in many different and difficult situations,” the letter starts. “He has never disappointed me in any way. He is a man of strong faith that guides him. He is a man of great integrity. He loves and respects his fellow man. I have never witnessed a time when he was unkind to anyone. He is always giving to others and helping anyone including me so many times.

The one-page note also outlines examples of activities intended to defend the former speaker’s character, such as starting a lunch-time Bible study for colleagues.

“We held each other accountable and we studied God’s word and applied it to where we were at that moment,” DeLay wrote. “Nothing could have been more intimate between us. So I know his heart and have seen it up close and personal.”

“We all have our flaws, but Dennis Hastert has very few. He is a good man that loves the lord. He gets his integrity and values from Him. He doesn’t deserve what he is going through. I ask that you consider the man that is before you and give him leniency where you can,” it concludes.

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