Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is stepping before a judge to learn his punishment in a hush-money case centered on sex-abuse allegations.
At Wednesday's hearing in Chicago, federal prosecutors intend to focus on accusations that Hastert molested at least four students when he coached wrestling at an Illinois high school.
The 74-year-old Republican pleaded guilty to breaking banking law as he sought to pay someone $3.5 million to conceal dark secrets from his past. His plea deal suggests a sentence between probation and six months behind bars.
But Judge Thomas M. Durkin made comments at recent hearings suggesting he could impose a far stiffer sentence than a half-a-year in prison.
If that happens, Hastert would become one of the highest-ranking politicians in American history ever to be incarcerated.