Former Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertSettlement reached in hush money case involving ex-Speaker Feehery: Not this way Feehery: Seizing the radical middle MORE has been released on his own recognizance on a preliminary bail of $4,500 less than one day after a surprise indictment.
Hastert did not appear in court and was not required to, as the preliminary bail set by a magistrate judge is a formality. Judge Thomas Durkin will set his bond at an arraignment in the near future, but no specific date has been set.
The former Speaker has not been seen in public since being indicted on charges he broke banking laws by paying hush money to prevent a longtime acquaintance from exposing what his indictment referred to as “prior misconduct.”
There are few details about why Hastert allegedly paid “Individual A” $3.5 million to stay quiet. The Justice Department does not explain the supposed impropriety that prompted the payments, and Buzzfeed News reports that it did not elaborate at the request of Hastert’s attorneys.
The indictment only explains that “Individual A” is from Hastert’s hometown of Yorkville, Ill., and has known the lawmaker for most of the individual’s life. The document also mentions Hastert’s past career as a high school teacher in Yorkville from 1965 to 1981.
The school district said in a statement to The Associated Press that no one has made an allegation of misconduct against Hastert and that it had no prior knowledge of the indictment.
The indictment accuses Hastert of illegally structuring large cash withdrawals just under $10,000, the amount required to trigger reporting requirements, in order to pay “Individual A” to stay silent.
Hastert also allegedly lied to federal agents investigating the withdrawals and told them he wanted to take out the money because he didn’t trust the banking system.