Lawyers Say Plea Deal Reached In Dennis Hastert Hush-Money Case

Christian K. Lee/AP

Attorneys for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) say they’ve reached a deal for Hastert to plead guilty in an alleged hush-money case, multiple news outlets reported Thursday.

Hastert pleaded not guilty in June to structuring bank withdrawals to avoid triggering federal reporting requirements and lying to the FBI about those withdrawals. But the former congressman’s attorneys said in court Thursday that their client will change his plea at an Oct. 28 hearing, according to The Chicago Tribune.

The plea deal negotiations were first revealed last month, when John Gallo, an attorney for Hastert, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Block informed U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin that both sides were trying to resolve the case before it went to trial. The attorneys said Thursday that they plan to turn over the written plea agreement to Durkin on Monday, according to the Tribune.

Hastert was indicted by a federal grand jury in May on the bank-related charges, which stemmed from an alleged agreement to pay $3.5 million to an unidentified “Individual A” in order to compensate for and conceal “prior misconduct” on Hastert’s part that had occurred years earlier. News reports based on information from anonymous federal law enforcement sources later alleged that the “prior misconduct” was sexual abuse of a male student at the Yorkville, Illinois high school where Hastert taught and coached wrestling before his election to Congress.

It’s unlikely that information either supporting or refuting the allegations of sexual abuse will surface without a trial. Hastert’s attorneys have blasted what they called “unconscionable” leaks about the case in court and Durkin also approved a request from prosecutors to place “sensitive information” in the case, which would likely include the identity of “Individual A,” under seal.

Politico reported Wednesday that Hastert’s plea deal would likely call for him to spend more than a year in prison, citing anonymous sources close to the case.

This post has been updated.

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