Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is expected to plead guilty in a hush-money case stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPROTER NARRATION) Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was expected to plead guilty on Wednesday morning in a hush-money case stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct. The planned guilty plea in a Chicago federal court, first disclosed earlier this month, would mark a dramatic downfall for someone who once ranked among the country's most powerful politicians. Hastert, 73, was charged in May with trying to hide large cash transactions as part of a payoff scheme and lying about it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Prosecutors and defense attorneys have not said to which charge Hastert would plead guilty or whether his sentence might include incarceration. A plea deal may not allow Hastert to avoid jail time but does likely avoid the public release of potentially embarrassing information about the case. Federal prosecutors have accused him of agreeing to pay $3.5 million to an unidentified person from his hometown of Yorkville, Illinois, to conceal past misconduct. Hastert was a teacher at Yorkville High School in the 1960s and 1970s. That person has not surfaced publicly but anonymous law enforcement sources have told several media outlets that Hastert was trying to cover up sexual abuse of a male student when he worked as a high school teacher and wrestling coach. Hastert, who has been free on bond and has not spoken publicly since his indictment, is expected to be in court on Wednesday. Hastert was the longest-serving Republican speaker, leading the House for eight years before leaving Congress in 2007 and becoming a lobbyist. After his indictment, Hastert resigned from the Dickstein Shapiro lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., and from the boards of exchange operator CME Group Inc and REX American Resources Corp. According to the indictment, Hastert withdrew $1.7 million in cash from his bank accounts from 2010 to 2014. He is charged with structuring $952,000 of the withdrawals, taking the funds out in increments of under $10,000 to evade a requirement that banks report large cash transactions. Hastert told the FBI he was keeping the cash for himself, which the indictment said was a false statement. Each of the charges carries a possible maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.