Ex-House Speaker Hastert Lawyers Talking Possible Plea Deal

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Dennis Hastert could go to trial as early as March or April.

CHICAGO — Former U.S. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert may go to trial on his criminal charges as early as next March or April if the two sides can’t resolve the case before then, a federal judge said Monday.

If the case isn’t resolved, defense attorneys said they will file a 37-page motion trying to get the entire case thrown out, based on alleged government misconduct in the case, as well as legal arguments attacking the charge that Hastert lied to an FBI agent. The Associated Press and other media, citing anonymous sources, have reported the payments were intended to conceal claims of sexual misconduct decades ago.

Authorities allege that Hastert structured cash withdrawals in increments of just under $10,000 in an attempt to avoid reporting rules, and when questioned about it by the FBI, said he was taking the money out because he didn’t trust banks. The indictment does not detail the alleged misconduct, and both prosecutors and defense attorneys have taken steps to keep the information confidential. 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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