Attorney: Ex-House speaker Hastert intends to plead guilty
CHICAGO — An attorney for Dennis Hastert told a federal judge Thursday that the former House speaker intends to plead guilty in a federal hush-money case.
John Gallo said during a brief hearing that he expects to have a written plea agreement by Monday. And he asked the judge to set a date for a change of plea. The judge scheduled an Oct. 28 hearing.
Gallo did not mention any of the terms, including what counts Hastert would plead guilty to.
A plea deal would avert a trial and help keep any potentially embarrassing secrets quiet.
The 73-year-old Illinois Republican is charged with breaking banking laws and lying to the FBI in efforts to pay someone $3.5 million to hide claims of past misconduct.
The Associated Press and other media, citing anonymous sources, have reported the payments were meant to conceal claims of sexual misconduct decades ago.
Hastert allegedly structured cash withdrawals in increments of just under $10,000 to avoid financial reporting rules and then lied to the FBI about the reason for the withdrawals. Investigators have said Hastert withdrew about $1.7 million.
When Hastert was charged in May, the indictment noted that he had been a longtime high school teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville, west of Chicago, suggesting the charges are linked to that history.
Both defense attorneys and prosecutors have successfully kept details of the underlying allegations under wraps so far.
— Associated Press Writer Eric Tucker in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.