Former Speaker Dennis Hastert Reaches Deal with Prosecutors
Attorneys for Dennis Hastert the former House Speaker said on Thursday that he was planning to plead guilty to one indictment that has alleged he agreed to pay $3.5 million of hush money to cover up his wrongdoing from many years ago.
John Gallo an attorney for Hastert said that a written agreement for a plea was worked out in this case.
The judge set the next hearing for Hastert on October 28 for him to enter a plea of guilty, exactly five months to the day after a federal indictment against the Republican was unveiled.
The negotiations for a plea bargain revealed first in a hearing during September, mean many of the specific details that surround the prosecution of Hastert may never be aired publicly, including the individual’s identity who remains a mystery figure who the prosecutors said took the money from Hastert to remain quiet about the dark history the two had.
Gallo did not comment while leaving the courtroom amidst a group of reporters.
Hastert, who is 73, made a plea of not guilty this past June to a count of evading the reporting requirements of currency and lying to the FBI.
He remains free and did not attend the brief hearing on Thursday.
One criminal analyst said that both sides might have reached a prison sentence for the ex-Speaker as part of the plea, while Hastert’s attorney may seek a charge of probation for his client.
The analysts also said that there is the possibility that the defense would seek to waive the hearing for sentencing in its entirety and keep the details underlying the current charges from being aired in public.
That move would be very unusual though especially for a high-profile case such as this one and would require a judge’s approval.
The indictment, which was unsealed late last May, alleges that the former Speaker agreed to make hush money payments totaling $3.5 million to an individual to cover up a wrongdoing from the time when Hastert was a teacher in high school and a coach of wrestling.