Ahead Of Sentencing, Ex-Speaker Dennis Hastert Is Sued Over Hush Money
This post was updated at 8:30 p.m. ET.
A man who says he was sexually abused by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has sued the Illinois Republican. The alleged victim says he received only $1.7 million of $3.5 million Hastert promised him to keep quiet, NPR's David Schaper reports.
Hastert is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday for crimes related to the hush money. He pleaded guilty to structuring cash withdrawals to get around requirements that the bank report big transactions to the federal government.
As we've reported, the alleged abuse took place decades ago, when Hastert was a high school wrestling coach; federal prosecutors have noted that the federal and state statutes of limitations "have long expired" on possible sexual misconduct charges.
In Monday's court document, the plaintiff's lawyer Kristi Browne gives a timeline of the abuse and the "oral contract" about the money (the full document is embedded below).
Browne tells NPR that Hastert was "a personal family friend of my client's family."
At 14, the plaintiff attended a wrestling camp where Hastert was a coach, the complaint says. He alleges he was molested by Hastert in a motel room during the camp. In 2008, the plaintiff learned about another alleged abuse, and he "met with Hastert to confront him about what he had done."
The complaint continues, referring to the plaintiff as "James Doe":
"During their discussion, Hastert acknowledged the life-long pain and suffering he caused Plaintiff. Plaintiff asked Hastert to compensate him for the pain, suffering, and harm caused by Hastert. Hastert agreed to compensate Doe for the trauma he suffered as a result of the admitted sexual molestation and abuse. When asked by Hastert for the amount he thought would compensate him for this harm, Doe suggested $3.5 million. Hastert agreed to pay him this sum. Hastert asked Doe to keep the agreement confidential. Doe agreed."
Hastert paid the plaintiff $1.7 million between 2010 and 2014, and stopped when his bank transactions came under investigation, according to the court document. The plaintiff is asking for the remaining $1.8 million, plus interest.
For the financial crimes, The Chicago Tribune has reported that Hastert's sentence could be "anywhere from probation up to five years in prison," although his plea agreement with prosecutors calls for a sentence of no more than six months behind bars.
The Tribune has also published dozens of letters given to the court on Hastert's behalf. Among the supporters were family members, employees and colleagues, including former Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, who called Hastert a man of "integrity" and "strong faith."
"We all have our flaws, but Dennis Hastert has very few," Delay wrote.
Former California Rep. John Doolittle said Hastert was "often referred to as, 'Coach' " and looked out for his fellow members of Congress.
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