The next steps in Hastert case
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of bank fraud and lying to FBI agents. The 73-year-old from Plano and his attorneys, Thomas Green and John Gallo, did not speak to reporters gathered at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago.
Here are the next steps:
• On Thursday Hastert will find out whether federal Judge Thomas Durkin will continue to preside over the case.
Durkin recused himself for now, saying even though he's confident he could be impartial, he could understand why people might think he wouldn't be. He gave prosecution and defense attorneys until 4 p.m. Thursday to let the court know if they want to keep Durkin on as judge.
Among the links to Hastert and the GOP: He's the brother of Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin; donated $1,500 to Hastert's congressional campaign more than 10 years ago; worked closely with Hastert's son, Ethan; and once called Hastert's office about a federal judge opening but nothing ever came of it. He said he's never met Hastert.
• Hastert agreed to several conditions of his $4,500 bail. He promised he will remove his sons' firearms from his Plano house, where he said the guns are stored in safes. He said he will not travel outside the U.S., not contact witnesses or victims and provide a DNA sample if requested.
• Hastert and his lawyers will have to decide what kind of defense to pursue. They could try to employ what's called a "compulsion defense" -- that Hastert was compelled to break banking rules and lie to the FBI because he was being blackmailed, said Chicago defense attorney Joseph Lopez, who is not involved in the case. The downside of that strategy, Lopez said, is Hastert would have to take the stand "and he would have to admit to everything in the past and reveal his secrets."
• Daily Herald Staff Writer Erin Hegarty contributed.