Dennis Hastert To Appear In Court On Federal Charges On Thursday

06/01/2015 01:06 pm ET | Updated Jun 01, 2016

(Adds that judge to hear case contributed to Hastert election campaigns, paragraphs 4-5)

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO, June 1 (Reuters) - Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert is scheduled to appear in a Chicago court on Thursday to face federal charges related to his alleged effort to hide $3.5 million in payments he was making to conceal past misconduct.

Hastert, 73, is set to appear at 10 a.m. CDT (1500 GMT) before U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin, according to an arraignment notice entered on Monday.

Hastert, an Illinois Republican, has not made a public statement since the indictment last week. An attorney for Hastert is not yet listed in court records.

It was unclear whether Durkin would retain the case. Federal campaign finance records show that Durkin as an attorney contributed $500 to Hastert's 2002 re-election campaign and $1,000 to his 2004 campaign.

President Barack Obama nominated Durkin as a federal judge in 2012. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago had no comment.

Hastert, who left Congress in 2007, was charged with structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash to evade a requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000, and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his withdrawals, prosecutors said.

Various national media reports, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, have said the cash exchanges had to do with sexual contact decades ago with a male former student of Hastert's when he was a high school coach and teacher in Yorkville, Illinois.

Before his terms in Congress, Hastert served three terms as an Illinois state representative and was a teacher at Yorkville High School in suburban Chicago for 16 years. Hastert was also a football and wrestling coach at the high school.

According to the indictment, the unspecified misconduct involved payments to an unnamed individual who had been a Yorkville resident and had known Hastert for most of the person's life.

Hastert met with the person several times around 2010 and discussed past misconduct by the former lawmaker, the indictment said. Eventually, Hastert agreed to pay the person $3.5 million in compensation to conceal the misconduct, the indictment said.

Shortly afterward, Hastert began making cash payments to the individual, according to the indictment. He withdrew $1.7 million in cash from various domestic bank accounts from 2010 to 2014 and gave it to the person, the indictment said.

As part of the fallout from the unfolding scandal, Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts institution, removed Hastert's name from its public policy center on Sunday. He graduated from the college in 1964.

Each count in the two-count indictment against Hastert carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. (Editing by Bill Trott and Eric Walsh)

Also on HuffPost:

  • School
    Hastert is a graduate of Wheaton College and Northern Illinois University.
  • Family
    Hastert was born on Jan. 2, 1942, in Aurora, Illinois. He has two children, Ethan and Joshua, with his wife, Jean.
  • Nickname
    Hastert often goes by "Denny."
  • Coaching And Teaching
    Ben Sklar via Getty Images
    Hastert was a history teacher at Yorkville High School in Illinois from 1964 to 1980. While working there, Hastert coached football and wrestling.
  • House Experience
    Hastert began serving in the Illinois House of Representatives in 1980, and the U.S. House of Representatives in 1987. He served as the House chief deputy minority whip from 1995 to 1999.
  • Foley Scandal
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    Hastert and others in GOP leadership were embroiled in scandal in 2006 when it was revealed then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) had sent sexually explicit instant messages and emails to male congressional pages. The Republican leadership’s handling of the scandal, with Hastert at the helm, played a key role in that year’s midterm elections, when the GOP sustained a major shellacking and was forced to hand over control of the House to Democrats, after dominating it since 1994.
  • Speaker Of The House
    Hastert served as speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007, and is the longest-serving Republican speaker in U.S. history.
  • Hastert Resignation
    JACQUES DEMARTHON via Getty Images
    Hastert announced he would not run for re-election in August 2007. He formally announced his resignation from Congress on the House floor in November 2007.
  • Dickstein Shapiro
    KAREN BLEIER via Getty Images
    In May 2008, Hastert agreed to join the lobbying firm Dickstein Shapiro as a senior advisor.
  • Indictment
    The AP reports: Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep a person from the town where he was a longtime high school teacher silent about "prior misconduct" by the Illinois Republican who once was second in line to the U.S. presidency, according to a federal grand jury indictment handed down Thursday. The indictment, which doesn't describe the alleged misconduct by Hastert, charges the 73-year-old with one count of evading bank regulations by withdrawing $952,000 in increments of less than $10,000 to skirt reporting requirements. He also is charged with one count of lying to the FBI about the reason for the unusual withdrawals.
  • Retirement From Dickstein Shapiro
    Upon news of his indictment, Hastert resigned from Dickstein Shapiro.
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