Plea Talks Underway in Dennis Hastert Hush-Money Case

by Nick Bogert and Tracy Connor /  / Updated 
Image: Dennis Hastert
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert at the federal courthouse in Chicago this summer.Paul Beaty / AP

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Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert is negotiating a possible plea deal to resolve charges he lied to the FBI about bank withdrawals — money allegedly used to keep sexual misconduct accusations under wraps.

"We're being diligent about it," prosecutor Steven Block said of the talks at a Monday hearing where he and the defense requested a delay in the proceedings.

Hastert, who led the House for eight years before retiring in 2007, was indicted in June on charges he structured bank transactions to avoid triggering red flags and then lied about those cash withdrawals to the FBI.

Court papers say he was taking out the money because he agreed to pay a mystery man identified only as "Individual A" some $3.5 million in hush money to conceal "prior misconduct."

Federal law enforcement sources have said "Individual A" was a student at Yorkville High School in Illinois while Hastert was a teacher and coach there in the '60s and '70s, and that the misconduct was sexual in nature.

Image: Dennis Hastert
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert at the federal courthouse in Chicago this summer.Paul Beaty / AP

Hastert has pleaded not guilty but has not made any public statements about the allegations.

In court on Monday, U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin agreed to delay various deadlines for two weeks but told the two sides that if they don't strike a deal, he'll set a trial date for next March or April.

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