Fmr. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert pleads guilty in hush-money case

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CHICAGO — Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has pleaded guilty in a hush-money case, in a deal with prosecutors that calls for him to serve up to six months in prison.

Hastert pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI Wednesday morning. Judge Thomas M. Durkin scheduled the sentencing for Feb. 29 after the 73-year-old Republican entered his plea.

Hastert was surrounded by his attorneys and escorted by about half a dozen U.S. Marshals as he departed the courthouse on Wednesday morning. He was driven away in a black SUV.

 

The plea marks the fall from grace of a politician who rose from obscurity in rural Illinois to become second in the line of succession to the presidency.

An indictment issued in May says the Republican agreed to pay someone referred to only as “Individual A” $3.5 million to hide past misconduct by Hastert.

The Associated Press and other media have cited anonymous sources in reporting the payments were to conceal claims of sexual misconduct.

Hastert arrived at Chicago’s downtown federal court shortly after 7 a.m., walking  past dozens of reporters and camera crews who took his picture as he entered the building . Inside the court he went through metal detectors with his attorneys. He arrived about an hour ahead of his scheduled plea hearing.

An indictment accused him of agreeing to pay $3.5 million to someone referred to only as “Individual A” to hide past misconduct by Hastert against that person.