Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was due to be arraigned in federal court next week on charges he paid hush money — reportedly to keep silent allegations of sexual abuse that date from his days as a high school teacher and coach in rural Illinois.
Hastert, a Republican, led the House of Representatives for eight years after Newt Gingrich was forced to step down. He is accused of structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash in increments just under $10,000 in what prosecutors say was an effort to avoid attracting the attention of federal authorities. The money was allegedly paid to an unidentified person in compensation for “prior misconduct” by Hastert, according to the indictment.
When asked about the withdrawals, Hastert allegedly lied to the FBI about the reason for making them.
The indictment does not detail the misconduct that the payments were meant to conceal, but reports emerged on Friday that it may have been sexual abuse of a former male student.
The Los Angeles Times quotes “a top federal law enforcement official, who would not be identified speaking about the ongoing federal case, [as saying] investigators also spoke with a second man who raised similar allegations that corroborated what the former student said. The second person was not being paid by Hastert, the official said.”