Where Has Dennis Hastert Been Hiding This Whole Time?

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Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) popped up Monday in rural Wisconsin after being neither seen nor heard from for nearly two weeks following his indictment on charges of bank fraud and lying to the FBI.

Hastert’s whereabouts were a complete mystery until an ABC News crew early Monday caught sight of the former speaker for the first time since the indictment was returned. The network’s cameras filmed the former speaker and his wife driving a black SUV out of a secluded vacation property en route to their Plano, Illinois home, which was four hours away. Hastert’s SUV did not slow down when it passed reporters at the gate to his home, according to the report.

Madison, Wisconsin TV station WKOW had speculated as early as May 30 that Hastert could be hiding out in the Badger State. The news station noted that the former speaker owned property in Eastman, a small village located in Crawford County.

Hastert wasn’t much more loquacious during his arraignment. An attorney entered not-guilty pleas on his behalf, according to the Associated Press, and Hastert quietly answered “Yes, sir” when a U.S. district judge asked him if he understood he could go to jail for violating the conditions of his pre-trial release.

Those conditions included surrendering his passport, cooperating in DNA collection, having no contact with victims of witnesses in the case and removing any firearms from his property in Plano. The former speaker’s legal team asked to be given two weeks to remove firearms that Hastert’s sons each kept in safes on the property, according to reporters who were in the courtroom.

It remains unclear whether Hastert’s case will revisit Yorkville, Illinois, the town that connects the former speaker and the individual to whom he allegedly agreed to pay $3.5 million to conceal and compensate for reported sexual abuse.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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