3 unanswered questions about the Dennis Hastert indictment
Former U.S. Speaker Dennis Hastert's indictment on charges of lying to the FBI Thursday left unanswered questions about the specific accusations involved.
The Chicago Tribune, quoting unnamed sources, said the "misconduct" mentioned in the indictment is sexual in nature and is related to Hastert's work as a high school teacher in Yorkville. The New York Times reported that two unnamed sources familiar with evidence uncovered in the FBI investigation say the misconduct was sexual abuse.
Yorkville Unit District 115 said in a statement Friday it "has no knowledge of Mr. Hastert's alleged misconduct, nor has any individual contacted the district to report any such misconduct."
Here are three questions the indictment against the longtime West suburban congressman doesn't address.
What is Hastert's response?
Federal prosecutors' charges are just that, leaving Hastert with the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. But the 73-year-old former speaker hasn't spoken publicly and hasn't returned messages seeking comment.
Who is "Individual A?"
The indictment accuses Hastert of agreeing to pay an unnamed person, "Individual A," $3.5 million in order to cover up some kind of "misconduct" on Hastert's part. The document says Individual A is a longtime Yorkville resident who has known Hastert most of his life.
When did it happen?
The accusations also don't describe this. Given the long time "Individual A" is said to have known Hastert, the "misconduct" described could predate his career in politics. Hastert was the longest-serving Republican speaker and spent 20 years as a member of Congress. Before that, he served at the Illinois Capitol. The indictment noted that before entering state and federal politics in 1981, Hastert served for more than a decade as a government and history teacher and wrestling and football coach at Yorkville High School.