President Donald Trump pardoned Dennis Hastert, who spent 16 months in prison in 2010 for breaking banking laws as he paid hush money to try to keep someone quiet about sexual relationships.

Kerik, a four-star former New York City police commissioner, Trump said in a statement, had served “his country in war, in peace, in government.” He had “had a distinguished career with great honor” before being convicted on corruption charges in 2016.

Milken, Trump said, had “served his country to the fullest extent, with great honor, under the most trying of circumstances.” He had served under Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

A jury found Hastert guilty in 2010 of violating banking law by withdrawing money from his bank accounts to pay hush money to cover up sex abuse he allegedly committed as a high school wrestling coach. He served just over a year of a 14-month sentence.

Both Kerik and Milken were pardoned by then-President George W. Bush; Kerik in 2007 and Milken in 2009. Both have benefited from the pardons from Trump. Kerik, who was New York City’s police commissioner from 1994 to 2001, was convicted in 2016 of tax evasion and falsifying business records.

Milken, founder of the private equity firm Drexel Burnham Lambert, was forced to give up his seat on the Securities and Exchange Commission after being charged with fraud. The Court of Appeals of the United States determined that his conviction was an “enhanced” aspect of his sentence “based on one or more allegations of bribery or other honest services offenses.” He was pardoned by Bush.

It was not immediately clear what Trump was thinking in granting clemency to Hastert, who was 81 when he was sentenced, having been twice elected a state representative in Illinois. His sentence also included a $1.7 million fine.

The White House statement described Hastert as “a man of good will who has contributed much to his community, including service to his country in the United States Congress.”

Trump also said he was granting pardons in the cases of Haddad and Sonny Perdue, two men given commutations on Monday.

Read the full news release below:

President Donald J. Trump announces the pardon of Dennis Hastert, D-IL; Kerik, D-NY; Milken, D-CA; Haddad, D-OH and Perdue, R-GA


February 18, 2018

President Donald J. Trump announced the pardon of Dennis Hastert, Dennis Patrick Hastert, Dennis Patrick Haddad, Daniel Jose Haddad, Scott Wesley Haddad, Joseph Alvin Haddad, Sonny Edward Perdue, and others:

“Following extensive investigation and review, it has been determined that former United States Representative Dennis Hastert has shown an unprecedented level of character by giving up unjustly being incarcerated in Illinois for financial wrongdoing as well as potentially criminal misconduct for hush money. Had this injustice been allowed to continue, former Congressman Hastert would have spent the rest of his life in prison, which the judicial system never should have made possible.

“The recipient of this pardon is Dennis Patrick Hastert, a devoted father, patriot, and public servant, who unfortunately has experienced an injustice far above and beyond what any of us should ever have to endure.

“At a time when we face increasing economic turmoil, as well as the threat of additional costly wars, the quick action of Congress regarding Dennis Hastert’s coming home can only be viewed as a hopeful signal that this nation values the hard work, sacrifice, and importance of each and every citizen.

“The deserving recipient of this pardon is Congressman Hastert.

“The foregoing memorandum will be filed by the Secretary of the Treasury in the Office of the Pardon Attorney.”

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