Court Hearing in Dennis Hastert Case Reveals Possible Plea Deal

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Dennis Hastert and Prosecutors in Talks to Settle Criminal Case.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s attorneys are talking with prosecutors about a possible plea deal in the Republican’s hush-money case, both sides told a federal judge Monday. The discussions were disclosed Monday at a hearing in federal court in Chicago. “I would characterize our discussions as linear and productive,” said John Gallo, a lawyer for Mr. The Associated Press and other media, citing anonymous sources, have reported the payments were intended to conceal claims of sexual misconduct decades ago. “We are seeing if we can resolve this case generally,” Hastert’s attorney, John Gallo, told U.S. Hastert, a Republican from Illinois who served in the House for 20 years, is accused of making multiple cash withdrawals in increments just under $10,000 in an attempt to prevent bank officials from reporting the transactions.

The alleged evasion drew the attention of investigators who say the former speaker had agreed in 2010 to pay a total of $3.5 million to a person known only as “Individual A” to keep quiet about certain misconduct. The indictment does not detail the alleged misconduct, and both prosecutors and defense attorneys have taken steps to keep the information confidential. Judge Durkin scheduled the parties to return to court Oct. 15 to discuss their progress, saying the two sides should be prepared to set a date for a trial or change of plea. Green, argued that the allegations in the media of past sexual misconduct — which he blamed on government leaks — had presented a quandary for the defense.

He said it could undermine Hastert’s right to a fair trial. “The indictment has effectively been amended by leaks from the government,” Green said at a July hearing. “(It) is now an 800-pound gorilla in this case.” Green, a nationally prominent Washington-based attorney, told the judge he was stumped about whether to ignore the sexual misconduct allegations as he prepared for trial. It’s unclear if claims not in the indictment would have had any relevance at a trial, during which prosecutors would likely have focused narrowly on mundane aspects of U.S. banking law.

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