WASHINGTON – Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert plans to plead guilty on charges of lying to federal investigators, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago.
Hastert’s attorneys told U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin on Thursday that they have reached a plea agreement on the charges that he lied to federal investigators about plans to pay someone he had wronged $3.5 million in hush money.
Hastert is scheduled to enter his plea at an October 28 hearing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Illinois. Only then will the details of the plea agreement be revealed, even though prosecutors submitted a draft of the agreement to the judge sometime before Monday.
Hastert was not in the courtroom for Thursday morning’s hearing.
The Chicago Tribune and other news outlets reported the agreement prior to the U.S. Attorney Office’s announcement.
Two sources with knowledge of the federal investigation told CNN in June that Hastert was paying a former student to stay quiet about allegations of sexual abuse from when he was a wrestling coach and teacher in Yorkville, Illinois.
The indictment details payments and a payment plan to an unidentified “Individual A,” by Hastert. But that person has never been officially identified.
Hastert was charged with lying to FBI investigators about his payment plan for “Individual A” and structuring bank transactions under $10,000 to avoid triggering federal reporting requirements.
Hastert initially pleaded not guilty to all charges, but Hastert’s defense team entered negotiations with prosecutors last month. At the time, Durkin set an October 15 hearing date to receive either an update on the negotiations or set a March or April trial date.
The plea deal would forgo the trial, which could easily be damaging for Hastert. Hastert has remained on bail on his own recognizance, although he did surrender his passport as part of the bail agreement.