Dennis Hastert's lawyer says the former U.S. House Speaker had a stroke during the first week of November. He has been hospitalized since then.
Attorney Tom Green said in a statement that Hastert had a stroke, has been treated for sepsis, and had two back surgeries while in the hospital.
Also, a letter sent to the presiding federal judge in the former U.S. House Speaker's hush-money case briefly mentions a hospital stay in asking for leniency at sentencing.
The letter, posted on the court docket Wednesday, is from C. William Pollard, who describes himself as a longtime friend of Hastert. Pollard wrote in the letter that "in light of (Hastert's) recent hospital stay," he hoped the sentence would be probation. He adds that Hastert "was known as a man of integrity."
Letters to the court sent earlier by others urged the judge to send Hastert to prison.
The 73-year-old Hastert pleaded guilty Oct. 28 to one felony count of evading bank reporting laws in a hush-money scheme.
In the written plea agreement, the Illinois Republican directly acknowledged for the first time that he sought to pay someone $3.5 million to hide his own misconduct against that person dating back several decades — about the time the longtime GOP leader was a high school wrestling coach in Yorkville.
Hastert’s sentencing date is Feb. 29.