Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dennis Hastert expected to plead guilty today in federal court

Dennis Hastert has been paying an “Individual A” hush money, federal law enforcement sources say.

Dennis Hastert has been paying an “Individual A” hush money, federal law enforcement sources say.

CHICAGO — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert had been paying hush money to hide a dark secret for four years by the time federal agents came knocking last December, prosecutors allege.

When the FBI arrived at Hastert's Plano estate on that snowy Monday morning, he had already been questioned by banks about a series of unusual $50,000 cash withdrawals he had made two years earlier. Still, he tried to keep his secret hidden, telling agents he was trying to store his own money because he didn't feel safe with the banking system, according to prosecutors.

"I kept the cash. That's what I'm doing," Hastert was quoted by prosecutors as saying to the agents.

Ten months after that crucial interview, Hastert, 73, is scheduled to walk into federal court in Chicago today and plead guilty to a bombshell indictment that alleges he was making the withdrawals as part of an agreement to pay a total of $3.5 million to a longtime acquaintance, identified only as Individual A, to cover up wrongdoing from years ago.

Though the indictment only hints at the alleged wrongdoing, federal law enforcement sources have told the Chicago Tribune that Hastert was paying to cover up the sexual abuse of a student when Hastert was a wrestling coach and teacher at Yorkville High School.

Hastert, who has remained free on his own recognizance since pleading not guilty in June, faces one count each of evading currency reporting requirements and making a false statement to the FBI.

Hastert's admission of guilt would mark a startling fall from grace for a man who once held the nation's third-highest political office. But the hearing before U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin could also leave more questions than answers.

Among the mysteries that could well remain unresolved is Individual A's identity. That has been kept a well-guarded secret despite a concerted attempt by media outlets across the country to confirm who was allegedly receiving the payments from Hastert.

In addition, the written plea agreement with prosecutors might not mention, let alone detail, Hastert's underlying, allegedly sensational motive for paying Individual A. Prosecutors are required only to present a factual basis for the charges and tell the judge what they intended to prove if the case had gone to trial.

Hastert's appearance at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse — just his second since the shocking charges were announced in May — is expected to spark a media frenzy and has prompted court officials to set up an overflow courtroom and extra security measures for the anticipated crowds.

Dennis Hastert expected to plead guilty today in federal court 10/27/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 10:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fennelly: Bucs' Roberto Aguayo has his backers, no matter how many kicks he misses

    Bucs

    He was perfect Friday, and not just because he didn't have to kick.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo (19) takes a photo with fans following the first day of training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, July 28, 2017.
  2. Starbucks to close all Teavana locations, including five in Tampa Bay

    Retail

    Local Teavana locations include Tyrone Square in St. Petersburg, International Plaza and Westfield Citrus Park in Tampa, Brandon and Clearwater.

    Starbucks announced Thursday plans to shut down all 379 Teavana stores, citing "underperformance." Starbucks acquired the mall-based tea chain for $620 million in 2012. [ CANDICE CHOI | AP file photo]
  3. What to watch this weekend: 'The Last Tycoon,' 'Room 104,' 'Rick and Morty'

    Blogs

    Checking in: Room 104

    Listen up, fans of Hitchcock and American Horror Story. Room 104 might be your next obsession. With a premise that feels experimental, Room 104 explores one of film's most traditional styles - telling a story from the inside of just one room. The HBO series is from …

    Rick and Morty returns on Sunday for a third season.
  4. Rubio: I intend to keep campaign promises on Obamacare

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio says he remains committed to overturning Obamacare following the collapse of the latest attempt.

  5. Family spokeswoman: British baby Charlie Gard has died

    World

    LONDON — Charlie Gard, the critically ill British baby at the center of a legal battle that attracted the attention of Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, has died. He would have turned 1 next week.

    This is an undated photo of sick baby Charlie Gard provided by his family, taken at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. [Family of Charlie Gard via AP]