Judge says Hastert victim can proceed with suit for more hush money

  • Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves the federal courthouse April 27, 2016, in Chicago, after his sentencing on federal banking charges.

    Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves the federal courthouse April 27, 2016, in Chicago, after his sentencing on federal banking charges. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 11/8/2016 1:03 PM

A man who was abused by former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert decades ago can proceed with his lawsuit claiming Hastert owes him promised hush money, a Kendall County judge has ruled.

The man, known as James Doe in the Kendall County suit and "Individual A" in the May 2015 federal indictment of Hastert, claims Hastert agreed to pay him $3.5 million but still owes him more than half that. Charging breach of contract, the man asked that Hastert, who's in a federal prison in Minnesota, be required to pay the remaining money plus interest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The man was paid $1.7 million before investigators revealed the payments, leading federal prosecutors in Chicago to charge Hastert with lying to the FBI and illegally structuring bank withdrawals.

Hastert pleaded guilty to the structuring in October 2015 and admitted to the sexual abuse during his sentencing hearing last April. Hastert reported to prison in June in Minnesota and is due to be released in August 2017.

Kendall County Judge Robert Pilmer listened to arguments in October but ruled on Monday against Hastert's motion for the case to be dismissed.

In oral arguments, Kristi L. Browne, Individual A's lawyer, said Hastert "agreed to pay my client $3.5 million and he hasn't lived up to the agreement."

Hastert's attorney, John Ellis, argued the suit should be thrown out because the "vague contract was unenforceable."

Ellis also argued "Individual A" breached the agreement's confidentiality clause "when he disclosed the agreement and the subject matter of that agreement" to federal investigators. But Browne said Hastert was the one who told federal authorities about the deal when investigators questioned him about banking irregularities involving payments to Individual A.

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The next hearing is Jan. 18.

Federal court filings described Individual A as a onetime wrestler on a team Hastert coached at Yorkville High School and said he was 14 when he was sexually abused by Hastert.

In his lawsuit, the man said he confronted Hastert in 2008. He said Hastert agreed to compensate him for "pain, suffering and harm" he'd caused and began paying him in 2010 before the payments stopped in late 2014.

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