*** UPDATE 1 *** From the LA Times….
Indicted former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was paying an individual from his past to conceal sexual misconduct, two federal law enforcement officials said Friday.
One of the officials, who would not speak publicly about the federal charges in Chicago, said “Individual A,” as the person is described in Thursday’s federal indictment, was a man and that the alleged misconduct was unrelated to Hastert’s tenure in Congress. The actions date to Hastert’s time as a Yorkville, Ill., high school wrestling coach and teacher, the official said.
“It goes back a long way, back to then,” the source said. “It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office.” Thursday’s indictment described the misconduct “against Individual A” as having “occurred years earlier.”
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 confirmed that the misconduct involved sexual abuse.
*** UPDATE 2 *** New York Times…
[ *** End Of Updates *** ]
J. Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, was paying a man to not say publicly that Mr. Hastert had sexually abused him decades ago, according to two people briefed on the evidence uncovered in an F.B.I. investigation into the payments. […]
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. The people briefed on the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a federal investigation.
* Riopell takes a look at some unanswered questions about the federal Denny Hastert indictment…
Who is “Individual A?”
The indictment accuses Hastert of agreeing to pay an unnamed person, “Individual A,” $3.5 million in order to cover up some kind of “misconduct” on Hastert’s part. The document says Individual A is a longtime Yorkville resident who has known Hastert most of his life.
What is the “misconduct?”
The indictment is silent on this point. It doesn’t describe what federal authorities say Hastert was trying to cover up.
When did it happen?
The accusations also don’t describe this. Given the long time “Individual A” is said to have known Hastert, the “misconduct” described could predate his career in politics. Hastert was the longest-serving Republican speaker and spent 20 years as a member of Congress. Before that, he served at the Illinois Capitol. The indictment noted that before entering state and federal politics in 1981, Hastert served for more than a decade as a government and history teacher and wrestling and football coach at Yorkville High School.
Hastert’s case was assigned Thursday to U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin, an appointee of President Barack Obama. The former speaker was apparently not arrested. A statement from the U.S. attorney’s office said he would be arraigned at a later date.
* More on Durkin…
Judge Thomas Durkin is the brother of House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs, the GOP’s leader in the Illinois House. Jim Durkin is in the middle of a budget fight in Springfield against Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Judge Thomas Durkin was confirmed to the federal bench in 2012 and used to be a partner in the law firm Mayer Brown.
Hastert’s son, Ethan Hastert, is an attorney at Mayer Brown.
Leader Durkin, by the way, was not pleased with the lack of support shown for his US Senate campaign by Speaker Hastert.
On Thursday, there were signs that Hastert’s world has been turned upside down. A spokesman for the CME Group confirmed that Hastert had resigned from the board of directors of the Chicago-based futures market operator. Hastert also resigned his position as co-leader of Dickstein Shapiro’s Public Policy and Political Law practice, a spokesman for the lobbying firm confirmed late Thursday.
It also emerged that the Illinois House put on hold a proposal to spend $500,000 to put a statue in the state Capitol honoring Hastert. He declined the offer about a month ago, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan said.
* About a month ago, eh? Hmm…
Rumors that Hastert had serious legal problems were bouncing around the Capitol in recent weeks. In an interview with POLITICO last week, Hastert, the longest-serving Republican House speaker in U.S. history, denied that he had problems with the IRS and denied that he was about to be indicted.
“I read what you heard, but that’s not correct,” Hastert told POLITICO when asked about problems with the IRS. “I’m not going to talk to you.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.,talks to reporters in his office on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. Clyburn said South Carolina can’t improve if it continues to elect Republicans. Clyburn is South Carolina’s only Democratic congressman. (AP Photo).
When a POLITICO reporter told Hastert in a phone interview that he was about to be indicted, he said, “Well, it’s not true.”
“I’m not speaking to you right now, thanks,” Hastert said, before hanging up.
* The Tribune’s editorial is headlined “Denny Hastert’s dark secret”…
On paper, he’s accused of moving money around illegally and fibbing to the feds about it. Between the lines, prosecutors suggest he has harbored a dark secret.
* Mark Brown…
There’s no small irony in the fact that Hastert survived a career in Illinois and Washington politics with his reputation relatively unscathed only to have it crash down upon him in retirement for something that may predate his first run for the Illinois Legislature.
An individual of modest means when he first became speaker, Hastert is now wealthy enough as a lobbyist paid to influence the government of which he was a part that he could allegedly pay out $1.7 million over a four-year period to help clear his conscience.
It must have been something pretty bad.
* And I don’t know if it means anything at all, but watch the video. It is super creepy…