<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Philadelphia Political News and Philadelphia Politics]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.comen-usFri, 29 Apr 2016 19:34:32 -0400Fri, 29 Apr 2016 19:34:32 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Clinton Team Shifting Staff to General Election States]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 17:18:26 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-524679204.jpg

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is preparing to hire staffers in some of the general election’s battleground states, NBC News reported.

A Clinton campaign official told NBC News the first wave of new hires and reassignments will involve state directors and other senior staff. The campaign is setting up state directors in Florida, New Hampshire and Colorado, and will eventually have general election operations in every state. 

The aide stressed that Clinton will continue to campaign in the remaining primary states. 

The news was first reported in USA Today.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump's Bill Unpaid After 3 Months]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:13:01 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Trump-GettyImages-503927392.jpg

The city of Burlington, Vermont, is considering calling a debt collection agency on a billionaire: Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

Mayor Miro Weinberger, a Democrat, said Trump is nearly three months late paying an $8,500 bill the city sent his campaign on Feb. 1 for police and fire overtime costs associated with a recent stop in Vermont's largest city.

"We actually had the city attorneys looking into this; there's some complication on an issue like this," Weinberger said in response to an necn question about whether he would seek a collection agency's services.

Weinberger added that the city should have a plan soon about how to address the unpaid bills.

Trump held a rally Jan. 7 at Burlington's Flynn Center for the Performing Arts but issued thousands more tickets than there were seats. The city wanted extra personnel to handle the crowds and any potential problems, Weinberger said.

"It could have been a much better-coordinated and organized event," Weinberger told necn. "And had it been, it would have been much easier for the city to accommodate."

Weinberger said the city embraces the process of democracy, and he believes candidates should meet their constituents on the campaign trail. However, the  mayor urged campaigns to coordinate more closely with municipalities in scheduling and planning visits like the one Trump made to Burlington.

Weinberger made it clear the unpaid bills will not bankrupt Burlington or have any serious adverse effects. He said the city’s police department has a more than $10 million annual budget, so the $7,200 portion of the bills for police costs are only a very small percentage of the overall picture.

Still, Weinberger said the city could use the money for any host of purposes and would appreciate payment.

The mayor noted that hometown candidate Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democrats' nomination for the White House, paid his bills on time for police and fire support, as well as other fees, following a campaign kickoff on the Burlington waterfront last May.

Campaigns do have a history of skipping out on the check.

Through a request to the South Burlington Police Department, necn obtained a July 2011 email chain between Chief Trevor Whipple and a New England representative of President Barack Obama's reelection effort. In the emails, the chief was looking for reimbursement for extra staffing costs for security and traffic control for a presidential campaign fundraiser.

Trevor Whipple said Thursday he never heard back on that 2011 request.

"It's frustrating," Whipple said. "Where it's discretionary, especially where it's fundraising, my expectation is [candidates] should bear the cost of that. They should be responsible for reimbursing the taxpayer for the cost of that additional service that would not have been necessitated were it not for this fundraising event."

Whipple said if visits by dignitaries were for official business, he would not seek reimbursement. But he said he sees political fundraisers in particular as different, and the kind of event for which taxpayers deserve repayment.

Necn reached out to a spokesperson for the Trump campaign regarding the city of Burlington's claims, but had not heard back at the time of publication.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Do Celebrity Endorsements Help or Hurt?]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 07:48:38 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DAWSON_GettyImages-521061462.jpg

Celebrity surrogates have been ubiquitous on the campaign trail this season, frequently been driving the 2016 news cycle — and in some cases, forcing their preferred candidates off message.

In a crowded media marketplace, the prominence of a celebrity surrogate can make a difference — at least when it comes to media attention — but unlike most traditional political representatives, they are infamously difficult to control.

During an appearance on "Late Night with Stephen Colbert" Wednesday, actress Susan Sarandon, a passionate Bernie Sanders supporter, doubled down on her refusal to say whether or not she would support Hillary Clinton in a one-on-one race against Trump. And unscripted diatribes on Sanders' behalf from stars like Rosario Dawson, Killer Mike and Tim Robbins have begged the question: Are these kinds of endorsements really worth it?



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FEMA Whistleblowers Expose Sandy Isues]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 21:10:22 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000015039471_1200x675_675841091552.jpg FEMA whistleblowers now claim they were systematically forced to underpay insurance benefits, even in the program intended to finally make Sandy victims whole. NBC10’s George Spencer tells us more.]]> <![CDATA[The Rocky History Between Cruz and Boehner]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:40:51 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/split2-cruz-boehner.jpg

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz personally told NBC News he had not met John Boehner, when he addressed comments made about him by the former House Speaker.

But the two men do have a past: Ted Cruz was once Boehner’s lawyer, when Boehner sued Washington state Democrat Jim McDermott over a leaked recording. Boehner filed the lawsuit in 1998 involving the illegal interception of an embarrassing phone call in which Boehner discussed House leadership business. He said his personal privacy was violated. 

Boehner won the case — part of which was handled by Ted Cruz. Sources close to Boehner told NBC News the two met during the lawsuit, but likely never had contact after Cruz arrived on Capitol Hill in 2013. 

For Boehner, Cruz led the political charge against him, when he was effectively a “player coach” in the move to oust the former speaker last year. 

Through the government shutdown in 2013, Cruz helped influence House members in the dissent that made the former speaker choose to step aside in 2015. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cub Reporter Broke 'Lucifer' Story]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 22:06:23 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/boehner-Ada_Throckmorton.jpg

Stanford Daily cub reporter Ada Statler-Throckmorton, 20, has spoken with big names and tackled weighty topics in the past.

The student from Prairie City, Kansas, has done a Q&A with Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey and covered the controversial fuel-free movement at the prestigious university in Palo Alto.

But she’s never broken a national news story like the one she did on Wednesday night at Stanford University’s CEMEX Auditorium. That’s where she was the first to report to the world that former House Speaker John Boehner called fellow Republican and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz "Lucifer in the flesh."

As far as she knows, she was the only reporter covering the speech, other than internal Stanford media. And when Boehner said those words, she knew it was big. But she didn’t know just how big — so big that her mother heard about it while listening to NPR early Thursday morning.

Google News returned about 300 articles for a search of Boehner and "Lucifer in the flesh" Thursday afternoon, including all the major American political news sources, all of which cite Statler-Throckmorton's story. The Stanford Daily's original article has more than 1,000 comments and 8,000 shares on Facebook, amid what its managing editor told CNNMoney is record web traffic.

“I didn’t realize it would go this viral and this fast,” Statler-Throckmorton said, noting she isn't even a journalism student, but is majoring in Earth Systems and wants to go into environmental communications.

Boehner didn’t stop at comparing Cruz to the Devil, though, and Statler-Throckmorton wrote down what he said in a candid speech that was not broadcast or videotaped: “I have Democrat friends and Republican. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” The Stanford Daily was able to capture some audio of the now-hyped up talk.

Later in the day — and all thanks to the scrappy Stanford sophomore — Cruz held court with reporters, taking aim at Boehner, saying the former speaker allowed his "inner Trump to come out." As for the "Lucifer" comment, Cruz said: "If John Boehner is calling me 'Lucifer,' he’s not directing that at me.  He’s directing that at you."

Statler-Throckmorton has been sought after from major news outlets ranging from Fox to CNN to NBC News, which is all the more curious to her because the headline of her campus newspaper  - “John Boehner talks election, time in office” - certainly does not sell the story the same way those outlets did. 

The Stanford Daily hadn’t promoted the story by the time the first news organization latched onto it, and Statler-Throckmorton doesn’t even have a Twitter account. She still doesn’t know who first picked up her story.

Victor Young Xu, the managing editor of news at the campus paper, told CNNMoney that on a typical day the entire site draws 11,000 to 13,000 page views. 

Xu told CNNMoney the Boehner story had already reached 169,220 page views as of 11:40 a.m. PT, which represented 94.5 percent of all visits to the site. To compare, the second most-viewed story published over the last year — a satirical piece on Stanford's admissions rate — drew a little over 40,000 views.

Relishing in her 15 minutes of fame, Statler-Throckmorton said she’s been trying to juggle all the media attention cast on her while paying attention to classes. 

As for her family’s own political leanings, Statler-Throckmorton said “we’re certainly not Republicans.” But she added she certainly kept an open mind to what the former speaker of the House had to say. 

“He was very interesting to listen to,” she said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area; Inset: Getty Images
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<![CDATA['If We Win In Indiana, It's Over': Trump]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:48:52 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/TrumpIndiana-AP_16119692031356.jpg

Donald Trump set the stakes of the Indiana primary Thursday, saying he refused to take time off from the campaign trail because of the importance of the primary, NBC News reported. 

Trump continued his pivot toward the general election with the rally in Indiana, where he told the audience he “will be so much better to women than Hillary Clinton is — for health care issues, on the protection of our country.” 

"If we win in Indiana, it's over," he said.         

Trump told the audience Clinton can’t win New York because the Clintons “abandoned Arkansas for New York” and aren’t “real New Yorkers.” He also insisted Clinton “doesn’t do great in Arkansas,” even though she won the state's Democratic primary.

It's a hint at where Trump's focus lies after primary wins across the Northeast on Tuesday, putting him closer to the nomination.     



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[USHCC Endorses Clinton, Kasich]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:46:34 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/split2-march15-kasich-clinton.jpg

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday it is endorsing Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John Kasich, in its first ever endorsement of any presidential candidate, NBC News reported.

"Secretary Clinton has stood with the USHCC and the Hispanic community at-large for decades," USHCC president and CEO Javier Palomarez said in a statement. "For more than 40 years, Secretary Clinton has fought to ensure that those who are willing to work hard in America have the opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead." 

Palomarez added that Kasich “understands that sustainable economic growth is needed in order to allow the American people an opportunity to succeed, regardless of background. He also understands that the Hispanic community is not monolithic, and that the issues most important to all Americans are: jobs, the economy, health care, education, immigration and national security." 

The group, which advocates on behalf of the country's Latin-owned businesses, bypassed Ted Cruz — the only Latino left in the presidential race.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bridgegate: Christie Under Fire]]> Sun, 26 Jan 2014 13:06:14 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/christie+gwb+scandal+inset.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images/AP Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cabrini College's New Name]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 11:11:32 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/CABRINI-COLLEGE.gif Delaware County's Cabrini College got approval from the state education department to change its name to Cabrini University. The change will take effect in July.

Photo Credit: NBCPhiladelphia.com]]>
<![CDATA[Phila. Council Joins Fight Against Youth Homelessness]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:54:47 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/FOHY+Social+-+Photo+Animation.jpg

On any given night, hundreds of teenagers and young adults are homeless on the streets of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia City Council on Thursday will hold a hearing specially on youth homelessness. The hearing is the first of its kind focusing on the issue after the Joint Committees on Children and Youth and Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless passed a resolution earlier this year to hold hearings on the matter.

Councilwoman Helen Gym and Councilman Allan Domb head up the committees, respectively, and joined forces in the fight against youth homelessness in January when both participated in the annual homeless count.

NBC10 explored the problem of youth homelessness in Philadelphia in depth late last year in Faces of Homeless Youth, an extensive television and web-based report that follows the stories of several teens and young adults who have experienced homelessness. NBC10 reporters Vince Lattanzio and Morgan Zalot spent time on the streets with kids who are homeless and in Covenant House Pennsylvania, the only crisis shelter in Philadelphia that serves homeless youth between the ages of 18 and 21 exclusively.

As a result of NBC10's reporting, tens of thousands of dollars in donations and volunteer hours poured into Covenant House, the organization's executive director, John Ducoff, said after the story aired. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., also called on Congress to approve $42 million in new funding for youth homelessness on the heels of Faces of Homeless Youth. Congress eventually approved that amount.

You can watch the livestream of the City Council hearing on youth homelessness right here on NBC10.com or on the NBC10 app at 1 p.m.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Testimony At Hastert Sentencing]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 07:04:43 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Hastert+Arrival.png

For seasoned court watchers, attorneys, even veteran prosecutors, the sentencing of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert proved to be powerful and troubling.

"Nothing is more disturbing than having 'serial child molester' and 'Speaker of the House' in the same sentence," Judge Thomas Durkin told a packed but silent audience in his 14th floor courtroom. “Some actions can obliterate a lifetime of good works.”

For two hours, the gut-wrenching testimony unfolded. Two accusers detailed sordid tales of sexual abuse from Hastert’s days as a wrestling coach in Yorkville. His own attorney conceded he could not contest the allegations. Prosecutor Steven Block told the judge that the government regretted they couldn’t hit him with tougher laws.

“Had there been an opportunity to charge the defendant with sexually abusing boys in his care, we would have,” Block said. “His decision last year was designed to keep his dark secrets.”

That decision, to mislead agents investigating massive bank withdrawals to pay off an accuser, eventually led to a person still identified only as “Individual A”, who described sexual abuse at Hastert’s hands when he wrestled for Yorkville High School in the seventies. Eventually, four other alleged victims were discovered.

One, Stephen Reinboldt, died from Aids in 1995. But in court Wednesday, his sister Jolene Burdge stood before the former Speaker.

“I hope I have been your worst nightmare,” she told Hastert, who did not react. “You took his life Mr. Hastert…because you took his innocence and turned it against him.”

Reporters filled the jury box, which went unused because Hastert had entered a guilty plea to a crime called “structuring”. It’s an arcane statute governing massive withdrawals of money. Because of statutes of limitations, he could not be charged with the sex crimes relating to those transactions. But the evidence was presented nonetheless. And it was difficult to hear.

“As a young boy, I wanted to be part of what Coach Hastert had created,” said another accuser, “Individual D”. A near gasp rumbled through the courtroom when he stated his name as Scott Cross. His brother Tom was well known to most reporters in the courtroom, as a former State Representative, and onetime protégé of the Speaker himself.

“Coach Hastert sexually abused me my senior year in high school,” Cross said, choking back tears. “I did not say anything to anyone. Coach Hastert and I never spoke of it.”

Cross said he considered the abuse his darkest secret.

“I wanted you to know the pain he caused me then, and still causes me today,” he told the judge. “It is important to tell the truth—I could no longer remain silent.”

As observers watched Hastert, he showed no emotion. No obvious twinges of pride as his attorney Tom Green described his client’s post-9/11 heroics on Capitol Hill. No apparent shame when Green stated, “Mr. Hastert abused.”

Green concede that his client “made some very poor decisions.” But he begged the judge to consider the total arc of Hastert’s life.

“Dennis Hastert was able to reshape his life into a career of public service and extraordinary accomplishment,” Green said. Then he conceded, that those “decades of accomplishment have been erased.”

Then the time came for Hastert himself to state his case. The clock ticked. Reporters leaned forward. His attorneys helped the former speaker push his walker to a lectern. A prepared statement was unfolded before him.

“I’m deeply ashamed,” Hastert read from the paper. “I’m the only one responsible.”

But even then, he could not bring himself to use the words “sexual abuse”.

“I know I am here because I mistreated some of the athletes I coached,” he said. “The thing I want to do is say I’m sorry.”

But the judge wasn’t buying it, and he interrupted Hastert’s statement.

“Did you sexually abuse Mr. Cross?” he asked.

“I don’t remember doing that,” Hastert said. “I accept his statement.”

“Individual B?” the judge asked.

“Yes,” Hastert admitted.

“Stephen Reinboldt?”

“That’s a different situation,” Hastert said cryptically. He paused to confer with his attorney, before conceding that he could not dispute the comments of Reinboldt’s sister.

“So you did sexually abuse him?” the incredulous judge asked.

“Yes,” Hastert said.

When it came time for him to impose sentence, Durkin spoke for more than 40 minutes. He did nothing to hide his disgust, and clearly demonstrated that the many pleas for mercy had fallen on deaf ears.

“If I’m going to consider the good, I must also consider the bad,” Durkin said, “which is that the defendant is a serial child molester.”

“Your actions were cynical,” he told Hastert. “You abused those who wouldn’t or couldn’t cry out.”

Attorneys had asked for leniency due to Hastert’s failing health and advanced age. The judge said the Bureau of Prisons would offer adequate medical care.

“Your age did not prevent you from committing crimes,” he said. “Your age should not prevent you from being punished.”

In the end, he sentenced Hastert to 15 months in prison, and a $250,000 fine. Reporters frantically sent out the news, thumbs flying on silent keyboards. Hastert’s attorneys made last minute arrangements for their client’s surrender, pending assignment to an appropriate prison.

And then it was over. But not before one last moment of despir from the judge.

“Nothing today gave me pleasure,” he said. “This is a horrible case. I hope I never have to see a case like this ever again.”



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Schuylkill River Trail Watch Begins Training]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 04:34:45 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/217*120/Schuylkill+River+Trail.JPG

The Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia, equipped in recent months with mile markers, now has its own version of a "town watch."

Officials with the city and nonprofit that helps oversee the roughly 10 miles of riverside path that winds through Philadelphia have officially launched training for a River Trail Watch, which will be staffed by volunteers.

Eileen Potash, who spent Wednesday afternoon walking along the Schuylkill in Center City, said she welcomes some helpful surveillance - particularly at night.

"In the day, I feel safe," Potash said. "But at night, I wouldn't mind an extra eye."

Anthony Murphy, who oversees the city of Philadelphia's Town Watch Integrated Services, helped with the initial training session, which included joggers, walkers and bicyclists, in best-practice ways to stay safe and react to potential safety issues when they arise on the trail.

"There isn't that sense of just runners, joggers, everyone together talking and looking at each other. So I think the coalition will bring that together," said Catherine Anne Ottinger, of Run 215, an online resource for the city's running community.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Tapping Fiorina Early, Cruz Echoes Reagan's Gamble]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 07:49:12 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/CRUZ_AP_16118751601761.jpg

Ted Cruz's unconventional decision to tap Carly Fiorina on Wednesday as his running mate echoes Ronald Reagan's gambit heading into the 1976 convention, a history that offers cautionary notes for Cruz.

Reagan finished the primaries as both a beloved conservative and party underdog, trailing incumbent President Gerald Ford by 100 delegates.

On July 27, 1976, a few weeks before the GOP convention, Reagan held a press conference to announce he was picking Richard Schweiker, a liberal Republican from Pennsylvania, to be his running mate.

"The people and the delegates have a right to know, in advance of the convention, who a nominee's vice presidential choice would be," Reagan said, explaining his logic for "departing from tradition" to announce the pick early.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Get More Census Info for LGBTQ Community: Rep. Grijalva]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 18:35:03 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/RaulGrijalva-AP_82052430668.jpg

Arizona Democratic congressman Raúl Grijalva believes sexual orientation should be included in the Census to strengthen the LGBTQ community's access to resources and legislation, NBC News reported.

Rep. Grijalva and Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) requested the American Community Survey start asking Americans about their sexual orientation and gender identity to create “urgently needed” statistics for the LGBTQ population. 

"In order to make further progress toward understanding the LGBT population (including its economic, racial, and geographic diversity), we strongly believe the Census Bureau should measure ACS respondents' sexual orientation and gender identity," they said in a letter to Census Director John Thompson. 

Grijalva said other categories like marital status are based on sexual orientation and gender identity.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Win Big in Philly Region]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 07:22:40 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/split2-template-trumpclinton-apr26.jpg Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and Republican front-runner Donald Trump are now even closer to securing their respective nominations in the upcoming presidential election after Tuesday's primaries in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hastert Gets 15 Months in Prison]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 07:07:14 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Hastert+Update.png

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison for breaking federal banking rules in a hush-money scheme attempting to cover up decades of sexual abuse.

He was also fined $250,000, Judge Thomas Durkin ruled, saying there's nothing worse than using "serial child molester" and "Speaker of the House" in the same sentence.

"It gives me no pleasure to sentence Mr. Hastert," Durkin said. "It's sad for our country."

Hastert faced up to five years behind bars for the banking charges, which were but one part of the numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against him. 

In court Wednesday, he apologized for his actions and admitted to the sexual abuse for the first time.  

"I want to say sorry to those I've hurt," Hastert said in court moments before learning his fate. "What I did was wrong and I regret it. They looked up to me and what I did was wrong."

Among those testifying at Wednesday's hearing was Scott Cross, previously identified as "Individual D," the brother of former State Rep. Tom Cross. Cross claimed Hastert abused him when he was 17 years old and captain of the wrestling team Hastert coached.

"I was alone with Coach Hastert in the locker room. Coach Hastert said I could make weight by giving me a massage. I trusted him," he said. "He pulled down my shorts, grabbed my penis and began to rub me. I was stunned by what he was doing, grabbed my shorts and ran out."

When Cross finished his statement, applause erupted in the courtroom.

Also testifying in court Wednesday was Jolene Burdge, the sister of another of Hastert's victims, Steven Reinboldt.

"I hope I've been your worst nightmare," Burdge said. "What you did wasn't misconduct. It was sexual abuse of a minor."

Hastert admitted in court to sexually abusing Reinboldt. He added that while he does not recall abusing Cross, he "accepts his statement" and does not deny the allegations.

Hastert pleaded guilty last year to a crime known as "structuring," an effort to mask payments to an unnamed individual he had wronged decades ago when he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High.

Prosecutors have claimed Hastert agreed to pay the accuser more than $3 million to conceal allegations Hastert molested him in a motel room when he was 14 years old. That accuser has since filed suit against Hastert for breach of contract, claiming he failed to finish making the agreed upon payments.

Authorities allege Hastert tried to mislead the FBI by instead accusing the victim of extortion.

"He was a victim decades ago and you tried to make him the victim again," Durkin said, adding that if Hastert had told the truth "he probably would have gotten probation."

In total, at least four former students have come forward alleging the now 74-year-old molested them when he was a teacher and coach. 

Attorneys for Hastert pleaded for mercy, saying Hastert has been punished enough through failing health and his own guilt and humiliation. Soon after his guilty pleas last October, the former speaker was hospitalized with a series of medical problems, including sepsis and a small stroke.

His attorneys asked that Hastert be spared time behind bars, and instead receive probation. 

"This is one of the most tragic and sad cases I've ever encountered," said attorney Thomas Green. "His life will forever be comprised and diminished."

Still, Durkin said Hastert's age would not deter him from sentencing the 74-year-old to prison and said his medical needs can be met in prison.

"I hope I never see a case like this again," Durkin said.

Hastert's attorney said in a statement that Hastert "accepts the sentence imposed by the court today."

"As he made clear in his own words in addressing the court, he takes sole responsibility for this tragic situation and deeply apologizes to all those affected by his actions," the statement read. "He hopes that he now can focus on addressing his health issues and on healing the emotional damage that has been inflicted on his family and friends who have shown unwavering support throughout this trying time."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump: Clinton Playing Woman Card]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 13:38:52 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/TRUMP_AP_16118114842811.jpg

Coming off a huge win on Tuesday night, Donald Trump said he has all but clinched the Republican nomination, NBC News reported. 

"I consider myself the presumptive nominee, absolutely," Trump said at a press conference after winning all five state primaries held on Tuesday by crushing margins.

Turning to the general election, he predicted he would "beat Hillary [Clinton] so easily" and even compete for deep blue states like New York, despite trailing Clinton nationally in every recent poll, often by wide margins.

"The only card she has is the woman's card," Trump said. "If Hillary Clinton were a man I don't think she'd get five percent of the vote."

Clinton said Tuesday night that "if fighting for women's health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the 'woman card,' then deal me in."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Why Rutgers Is Limiting Grad Tix]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 06:54:03 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Obama-AP_300700443084.jpg

Rutgers University students from the New Brunswick campus and the biomedical and health sciences schools will be allowed just three guests when President Obama delivers remarks at the school’s commencement ceremony on May 15.

Rutgers made the announcement on their Facebook page this week, and it has drawn the ire of students who hoped to secure seats for more guests.

“The tickets will be barcoded and will not be transferable. Ticket holders will be required to have photo identification, and all guests must have a ticket regardless of age,” Rutgers said in the statement posted to their Facebook page.

"While the limit to three guests at the stadium is a change from past practice, it ensures that every graduating student from Rutgers University–New Brunswick and from Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences is accommodated," the statement continued. 

Students then used the platform to voice their disappointment with the decision. 

 “I'll remember this when Rutgers sends me a letter requesting alumni donations....” Facebook user Kevin Moser wrote in response to the school’s announcement.

“This is a total disappointment and slap in the face. I've spent my full 4 years here working my hardest to graduate on time-just like many of my classmates,” user Mike McGowen fumed on the school’s Facebook page.

Rutgers announced this month that Obama would deliver remarks at the 2016 commencement ceremony, the first time a sitting president has addressed the school's graduates.

 “This is the first time in Rutgers University’s history that a sitting president has agreed to speak at commencement,” said university President Robert Barchi, who added that the New Brunswick campus is "delighted" about Obama's appearance.

And some students like Kiersten Formoso agree. 

"Everyone's freaking out about it. I actually think it's incredibly reasonable," she said of the seating limits. 

Formoso pointed out that because the president is speaking, Rutgers is shuttling in graduates from the Camden and Newark campuses. And with nearly 18,000 graduates, the seats fill fast. 

"I'm excited, you know, to see Obama as my commencement speaker," she said. 

Formoso said she'll narrow down her list and focus on commencement with the commander-in-chief. 

There will be other viewing sites for people who have already arrangements to be at the ceremony, according to Rutgers. They include the Busch Student Center, the Livingston Student Center or the College avenue Student Center. No tickets are required for viewings there, and seating is general admission. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Voters Approve Commission on African American Males]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 23:11:47 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/123115+black+lives+matter+chinatown.jpg

Philadelphia voters overwhelmingly approved making permanent a Mayor's Commission on African American Males, which examines the challenges facing black men in Philadelphia.

The commission, which was established by former Mayor Michael Nutter, is now part of the city's Home Rule Charter. Its members advise Philadelphia elected officials, particularly in the areas of prospective policy and legislation.

Voters approved adding the commission to the charter by a count of 130,292 to 76,062, with 96 percent of precincts reporting.

"An advisory body (it has no statutory powers) with 30 unpaid members, it was established by Mayor Michael Nutter in 2011," the Committee of Seventy wrote on its website, describing the commission. "Actually, Nutter reestablished it. Mayor Wilson Goode created a similar commission in December 1991 just before he left office, but his successors allowed it to lapse."

Seventy added that Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Bloomington, Ind., have similar commissions.

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<![CDATA[Evans Upsets Fattah in U.S. House Primary]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 03:44:42 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Evans_Fattah_1200.gif

Longtime Pennsylvania House Rep. Dwight Evans, the face of Philadelphia's Democratic delegation in Harrisburg for decades, is set to go to Washington, D.C.

He defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in the Democratic primary Tuesday, virtually assuring for himself the 2nd Congressional District seat, held by Fattah for the last 22 years.

Evans, a leader from the powerful Northwest section of the city, seized on an opportunity to unseat Fattah after the 11-term congressman was indicted last July on federal racketeering charges.

What likely aided in Evans' upset bid was his Northwest stronghold — known for its "power wards," areas with strong voter turnout.

But the district also covers much of West Philadelphia and parts of Montgomery County. Fattah in recent weeks spent heavily on radio and television advertisements, using special funds allotted to congressional offices.

Fattah is currently facing charges in connection with campaign funding dating back to his 2007 bid for Philadelphia mayor. A hearing is set for next month, and the trial could begin soon after that.



Photo Credit: AP/NBC 10
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<![CDATA[Polls Now Closed in Pennsylvania, Delaware]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 20:12:53 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/election-10-GettyImages-524430020.jpg

Polls closed at 8 p.m. in Pennsylvania and Delaware, where two of five states held presidential primaries Tuesday, along with numerous state-level and municipal elections.

In Pennsylvania, Republican candidates Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are vying for 17 dedicated delegates while 54 other delegates will be able to pick their own choice at the convention later this year. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will receive proportional numbers of delegates based on the percent of votes they win.

In Delaware, a winner-take-all state, the Republican candidates are vying for 16 delegates and the Democrats are trying for 31 delegates.

Other important races include Pennsylvania's Democratic primary for a U.S. Senate seat. Four candidates are in the running for the chance to compete against incumbent Pat Toomey. Toomey is seeking a second term.

Long-embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is not seeking re-election, and three Democrats and two Republicans are fighting to become their party's nominees to replace her.

All of Pennsylvania's state House and U.S. House seats are up for grabs. The highlight race of those is the 2nd Congressional District, where indicted U.S. House Rep. Chaka Fattah, seeking a 12th term, is facing his toughest competition in years. He faces federal racketeering charges in a trial expected to begin next month.

Delaware's election is limited to the presidential primaries, as their official state primary is scheduled for September.

For all election results, go to NBCPhiladelphia.com's Election page.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Primary Day: Voters in 5 States Cast Ballots]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 21:57:36 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/election-27-GettyImages-524665434.jpg Democratic and Republican primary voters in five Northeastern states went to the polls on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How's Voter Turnout?]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:22:03 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000014993555_1200x675_673980995659.jpg Voting ambassadors cover many ages.]]> <![CDATA[Vice President Joe Biden Talks Politics, Life-Changing Initiative]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:00:05 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000014991034_1200x675_673856579826.jpg Vice President Joe Biden spoke with NBC10's Jacqueline London about the tone of the presidential election and how he is trying to make college more affordable for thousands of students.]]>