Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is preparing to plead guilty in a hush-money case. Hastert is believed to have been paying money to keep an unknown person quiet about his sexual transgressions when he was a high school teacher and a wrestling coach.
Dennis Hastert appears to have reached a plea deal with prosecutors and is expected to file a “guilty” submission in a money transfer case meant to hide his past sexual abuse of a male. Hastert has never been officially charged with any past misconduct, but he was believed to be paying off an unknown person to cover up the incident.
A defense attorney told a federal judge Thursday that Hastert intends to plead guilty in the hush-money case. A final draft of the written plea agreement should be ready by Monday of next week, informed attorney John Gallo during a brief status hearing, reported Portland Press Herald. At the attorney’s request, the federal judge had allowed Hastert to alter his plea on or before October 28. Needless to add, Dennis Hastert has been claiming no wrongdoing and has always pleaded “not guilty” earlier.
The sudden change in the plea is certainly odd, but neither Hastert’s lawyer, nor the attorney, has offered any details what Hastert might say. However, it is not an uncommon practice for defendants to plead guilty, especially in the case of Dennis Hastert. The 73-year-old Illinois Republican stands to avoid a costly and more specifically an embarrassing trial, one that would undoubtedly reveal a lot more of Hastert’s past than he is willing to admit in order to plead guilty.
The details of the plea detail would be known only after Hastert’s lawyer submits it. Until then, it remains a mystery as to what exactly has Hastert to plead guilty about.
What was Dennis Hastert charged with? The former U.S. House Speaker, who holds the record of being the longest-serving Republican speaker for nine years, has been charged with one count of breaking banking laws and one count of lying to the FBI. Apparently Hastert lied to the agency about agreeing to pay someone $3.5 million to hide claims of unspecified past misconduct.
Hastert is believed to have orchestrated structured withdrawals in increments of just under $10,000 to avoid reporting rules in order to pay an unknown person to conceal claims of sexual misconduct. Though the financial aspect is being investigated, the reports about sexual misconduct have yet to be corroborated. Hastert, who became a powerful lobbyist after vacating his post as Speaker, is also accused of lying to the FBI about the exact reasons behind the withdrawals. Federal investigators indicate Hastert may have withdrawn as much as $1.7 million from 2010 to 2014, reported MSN.
Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years, most likely to be spent in a minimum security prison meant for people who have committed political or financial crimes. Interestingly, though Hastert was indicted for the charges, the indictment did not include the primary underlying cause of the financial crimes, which was the alleged sexual abuse of a male, back when Dennis Hastert worked as a high school teacher and wrestling coach.
It is quite apparent that both sides have done their best to keep the information about the potentially devastating details about the alleged sexual misconduct confidential. Moreover, since the plea deal is bound to omit the underlying cause, the individual who allegedly received the money wouldn’t be called to the court to testify if they ever received any money from Dennis Hastert in order to conceal the sexual abuse incident.
Plea deals are often based on the discretionary powers of the presiding judge, but it is expected when Dennis Hastert will plead guilty, he is more than likely try to seek avoiding jail time.
[Image Credit | Chris Maddaloni, Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images]