Tony Podesta (left) and Denny Hastert (right) on a summer camp in Camp Nose, Japan 1965
This piece is meant to address the relationship between John and Tony Podesta, and Denny Hastert, during their younger years, and into the modern age.
Denny Hastert was the 51st speaker of the house from 1994 to 2007. He is a Republican, representing Illinois 14th Congressional district from 1987 to 2007. In May of 2015 Hastert was indicted on Federal charges for incongruities in his banking practices. Specifically relating to how he structured his banking to avoid federal reporting standards in his withdrawals. He was also charged with making false statements to federal investigators. These charges were the bread and butter of the prosecution, resulting in Hasterts conviction.
The money was being moved around to make payments to at least one young man (Individual A) as hush money for sexual abuse perpetrated by Hastert during his time at Yorkville High as a teacher and wrestling coach. Individual A has never been publicly identified. A total of 1.7 million dollars (out of a total agreed 3.5 million) had been paid out to Individual A. Police interviewed another former student of Hastert and this person also corroborated the abuse allegations. Jolene Reinboldt Burdge came forward shortly after and claimed her brother (Steve) had confided in her that he had also been abused by Hastert in high school. Steve Reinboldt died in 1995 of an AIDS related illness, and Hastert attended the viewing.
It is worth noting, that Hastert was never charged or indicted for any of the sexual abuse claims. Statute of limitations on these crimes had expired. Given that these events allegedly took place in the 1970s, there was minimal physical evidence, only sworn statements from Individual A and another victim, along with Jolene Burdges statements to the media.
On October 15, 2015 a plea deal was reached regarding the “structuring” of funds and giving false statements to federal investigators. He claimed he had been withdrawing sums of less than 10,000 dollars to avoid telling the bank what the money was being used for. Shortly after his guilty plea, Hastert suffered a stroke. His sentencing was set for February 29 2016, but was delayed so the court could hear testimony from another abuse victim, Individual D, later identified as Scott Cross. The prosecution filed a presentencing motion that alleged Hastert had molested at least 4 boys (Individuals A and D included) as young as 14 years old. The prosecution also requested Hastert to undergo sex offender evaluation, and comply with any recommended treatment.
During the sentencing period 60 letters were written to the court asking for leniency for Hastert. The judge would only admit letters if the writer made them public. 19 of these letters were withdrawn. Of the 41 remaining letters, many were from former and current lawmakers as well as the former head of the CIA, Porter Goss.
At sentencing both Jolene Burdge, and Individual D testified to Hastert abuse. Individual D, Scott Cross, is the younger brother of Tom Cross, the Republican leader of the Illinois House of Representatives and political mentor of Hastert. Hastert admitted to abusing several young men. He stated he did not remember abusing Cross, but “accepted his statement” The presiding Judge Durkin called Hastert “a serial child molester” and sentenced him to 15 months in prison with 2 years supervised release, $250,000 dollar fine and to mark him as a sex offender. Hastert is one of the highest ranking US officials ever convicted of a crime. He is expected to be released in August of 2017.
In the following e-mails John Podesta is informed of the indictment of Hastert by Jake Siewert, who jokes about the situation:
Date: 2015-05-28 19:36
Subject: FW: Tax Breaking News
Might be time for Denny to vanish to an undisclosed Japanese island.
In another e-mail, Tony Podesta, brother of John Podesta, says that Denny Hastert is one of his old friends:
CC: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 2015-06-01 13:26
Subject: RE: Hellow!
Cant believe its almost 50 years since Camp Nose
I have stayed in touch with denny Hastert and jan ettelt and andy dolan all these years
Its wonderful to reconnect with you
Are you posted in new York?
I would love to see you
I have stayed involved with Japan and do some work for the Japanese Ambassador
Send me your contact information
I look forward to seeing you
Johns brother, Tony, worked at a summer camp with Hastert in Japan.