UPDATE: It looks like the $3.5 million in cash payments made by Mr. Hastert to this individual were meant to hide his alleged sexual abuse that occurred decades ago. Hastert resigned from the lobbying firm he was working upon leaving Congress–Dickstein Shapiro–last night. The FBI has declined to comment on the case, but the New York Times reports that it occurred around the time Hastert was a wrestling coach and teacher in Yorkville, Illinois between 1965-1981.
J. Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, was paying a man to not say publicly that Mr. Hastert had sexually abused him decades ago, according to two people briefed on the evidence uncovered in an F.B.I. investigation into the payments.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday announced the indictment of Mr. Hastert on allegations that he made cash withdrawals designed to hide those payments and for lying to federal authorities about the purpose of the withdrawals.
The man – who was not identified in court papers — told the F.B.I. that he had been inappropriately touched by Mr. Hastert when Mr. Hastert was a high school teacher and wrestling coach, the two people said on Friday. The people briefed on the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a federal investigation.
It was not clear when the alleged behavior occurred. But according to court documents, Mr. Hastert was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill., from 1965 to 1981. The F.B.I. was not able to substantiate the allegations beyond the man’s statements.
It makes the circulated video of Hastert’s appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal in November of 2014 all the more intriguing.
Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has landed himself in hot water with federal authorities for lying to them about cash transactions that were being made to someone blackmailing him (via Chicago Tribune):
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been indicted on federal charges alleging he agreed to pay $3.5 million in apparent hush money to a longtime acquaintance blackmailing him, then lied to the FBI when asked about suspicious cash withdrawals from several banks, federal prosecutors said.
The stunning indictment of the longtime Republican powerhouse alleged he gave about $1.7 million in cash to the acquaintance, identified only as Individual A in the charges, to “compensate for and conceal (Hastert’s) prior misconduct” against Individual A that had occurred years earlier.
Hastert, a former high school teacher, served eight years as House speaker and has been working as a lobbyist in Washington since stepping down from office in 2008.
Hastert, 73, of Plano, was charged with one count each of structuring currency transactions to evade Currency Transaction Reports and making a false statement to the FBI, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He will be arraigned later at U.S. District Court in downtown Chicago.
According to the seven-page indictment, Hastert withdrew a total of $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts between 2010 and 2014 to give to Individual A. In December, Hastert began structuring the cash withdrawals in increments less than $10,000 to evade bank reporting requirements, the indictment said.
When questioned by the FBI about the withdrawals, Hastert lied and said the cash was for his own use, according to the charges.
“Yeah, I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing,” the indictment quoted Hastert as telling agents.
You can read the indictment here.