'Individual A' sues Hastert, seeks more money
The man known as Individual A in the hush money case against Dennis Hastert has sued the former U.S. House speaker for the remaining $1.8 million he says Hastert agreed to pay him to keep silent about past sexual abuse.
The man filed the suit Monday in Kendall County. According to the complaint, Hastert -- a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School from 1965 to 1981 -- was "a trusted friend" of the man's family who took the then 14-year-old to a wrestling camp where he "violated the special trust" Doe had placed in Hastert "by sexually molesting and abusing" him.
The effect of the abuse "is something he still struggles with today," said the man's attorney, Kristi Browne, a partner with the Patterson Law Firm in Chicago. She has filed a motion asking that her client be allowed to proceed under the fictitious name James Doe.
The man said in the complaint he suffered severe panic attacks that led to unemployment, depression, and long-term psychiatric treatment as a result of abuse.
In the complaint, he says he confronted Hastert in 2008 after learning of claims that Hastert had abused someone else. Hastert acknowledged "the lifelong pain and suffering" the man suffered and agreed to pay him $3.5 million, the complaint alleges.
Between June 2010 and December 2014, Hastert paid the man $1.7 million. In exchange, the man "gave up any right to sue for personal injuries or seek any public acknowledgment," according to the complaint.
Federal authorities began investigating Hastert's cash withdrawals from his bank account in December 2014. In February 2015, the former speaker told the FBI he was the victim of an extortion plot, prosecutors said.
The FBI and the U.S. attorney "concluded this was not extortion and that my client was seeking compensation owed him," Browne said.
In May 2015, federal authorities charged Hastert with structuring, or making numerous bank withdrawals to avoid federal reporting requirements for transactions of $10,000 or more, and then lying about his reasons for doing so. Hastert pleaded guilty in October.
The guilty plea and subsequent revelations have marked a spectacular fall from grace for the 74-year-old politician, Congress' longest serving Republican speaker who once stood second in line to the presidency.
Federal prosecutors indicate in court documents that Hastert sexually abused at least three other boys -- identified as Individuals B, C and D -- during his tenure as a teacher and coach. He cannot be prosecuted criminally because the statute of limitations has run out.
In their sentencing memo, prosecutors go into detail about the sexual abuse of not only Individual A but also of Individuals B, C and D and wrestling team manager Stephen Reinboldt, whose sister claimed he told her before his death that Hastert abused him. Individual D and Reinboldt's sister are expected to testify at Hastert's sentencing hearing Wednesday. Browne says her client will not testify.
Hastert's attorneys, citing his deteriorating health, have requested probation. Federal prosecutors have asked for a sentence of up to six months in prison. U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin may sentence Hastert to up to five years in prison.
Durkin, a former partner in Mayer Brown, the law firm where Hastert's son Ethan is also a partner, is the brother of Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs. Thomas Durkin acknowledged at Hastert's arraignment that he had a working relationship with Ethan Hastert and that he had donated a total of $1,500 to Hastert's congressional campaign in 2002 and 2004 but that he had never met the former speaker.
Durkin, who is also a former federal prosecutors, said he could be impartial and both parties agreed to have him continue to preside over the case.