Reports: Ex-Speaker Hastert's Payments Linked To Sexual Misconduct
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was paying a man to not reveal that Hastert had abused him years ago, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times are reporting.
Hastert was indicted Thursday in connection with charges that he tried to hide cash withdrawal requirements and lied to the FBI about it. As NPR's Brian Naylor reported:
"According to the U.S. attorney's office, Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to a person identified only as Individual A 'in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A.' The indictment charges that Hastert began withdrawing money from various bank accounts, and that beginning in approximately July 2012 he started structuring those withdrawals in increments of less than $10,000 to evade currency transaction requirements that withdrawals of $10,000 or more be reported."
The New York Times based its story on two people briefed on the evidence uncovered in the FBI's investigation into the payments. The LA Times quoted two federal law enforcement officials.
Here's more from The New York Times report:
"The man – who was not identified in court papers — told the F.B.I. that he had been inappropriately touched by Mr. Hastert when Mr. Hastert was a high school teacher and wrestling coach, the two people said on Friday. ... It was not clear when the alleged behavior occurred. But according to court documents, Mr. Hastert was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill., from 1965 to 1981. The F.B.I. was not able to substantiate the allegations beyond the man's statements."
The LA Times reports that the "alleged misconduct was unrelated to Hastert's tenure in Congress." The newspaper adds:
"Asked why Hastert was making the payments, the official said it was to conceal Hastert's past relationship with the male. 'It was sex,' the source said. The other official, when asked if the misconduct was sexual abuse, said 'That's correct.'"
If convicted of the charges against him, Hastert, 73, could face five-year prison terms for each of the two counts, and fines of up to $500,000.
The Illinois Republican served as speaker from 1998 to 2007.
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