Chicago judge grants request to keep some Hastert evidence secret

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 15, 2015 7:11 PM

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A federal judge in Chicago on Monday granted a request by prosecutors to keep secret some of their evidence in the case against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who pleaded not guilty last week to charges of trying to hide cash transactions and lying to the FBI about it.

Hastert allegedly paid close to $2 million to an individual to conceal past misconduct, which reportedly was sexual contact with a male student while he was a teacher and coach in the 1960s and 1970s.

In their motion filed on Friday before Judge Thomas Durkin, prosecutors said sensitive information in the case should not be disseminated because it would adversely affect "the privacy interests of third parties." Hastert's defense attorneys did not oppose the motion.

Prosecutors asked the judge to restrict distribution of materials in the case to key defense personnel and witnesses, and asked that copies not be made without the court's permission. They also asked to submit under a court seal certain materials.

A status hearing will be held on the case on Thursday. Hastert, who paid a small bond and is not in custody while awaiting trial, does not have to appear at the hearing.

Hastert and his lawyers have made no public comment on the case.

According to the indictment, Hastert withdrew $1.7 million in cash from his bank accounts from 2010 to 2014. He is charged with "structuring" $952,000 of those withdrawals, taking the funds out in increments of less than $10,000 to evade the requirement that banks have to report large cash transactions.

Prosecutors allege he promised to pay $3.5 million to an individual from his hometown of Yorkville, Illinois, where he was a teacher and wrestling coach at the local high school.

Hastert was the longest-serving Republican U.S. House of Representatives speaker, a position he held from 1999 to 2007.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Eric Beech)