CHICAGO (AP) — For years, former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was known primarily for rising from political obscurity in rural Illinois to spending eight years in the nation's third-highest office. Then came a federal indictment in a hush-money case centered on sex abuse allegations, in which the 74-year-old Republican will be sentenced Wednesday.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared poised to throw out the corruption convictions of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, a move federal prosecutors fear could undermine their ability to bring crooked politicians to justice. During the one-hour argument, several of the eight justices signaled that the conduct of McDonnell in accepting $177,000 in gifts and sweetheart loans from a businessman seeking to promote a dietary supplement did not constitute a criminal act. Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts went further, suggesting the statutes under which McDonnell was convicted could be so broad as to be unconstitutionally vague because they can sweep in so many different activities, including setting up routine meetings on behalf of political donors.