Settlement reached in hush money case involving ex-Speaker

Settlement reached in hush money case involving ex-Speaker
© Getty

A settlement has been reached in a hush money lawsuit against former House Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: Trumpus Rex Bottom line Feehery: Build back bipartisan MORE (R-Ill.) that involved decades-old allegations of sexual abuse.

Lawyers reached the out-of-court settlement on Wednesday, days before parties were set to go to trial, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Attorneys said the terms of the agreement will remain confidential, according to the Tribune.

ADVERTISEMENT

A judge in Kendall County ruled last week that the man who sued Hastert, whose identity has been unknown, would be identified publicly during the civil trial, the Tribune reported.

Jury trial was set to begin on Monday in a courtroom in Yorkville.

Hastert, before entering the political scene in the early 1980s, was a teacher at Yorkville High School and a state wrestling coach, according to the Tribune. He eventually rose in the ranks and served as speaker of the House from 1999 until 2007.

The plaintiff in the case — a former student-athlete at Yorkville — said Hastert sexually abused him one night in the 1970s when the two were at an out-of-state wrestling camp and he was 14 years old.

The man, who filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Hastert in April 2016 under the name James Doe, was reportedly asking for the unpaid balance of an alleged $3.5 million pact to remain quiet.

According to The Associated Press, Hastert refused to pay $1.8 million. He reportedly paid $1.7 million over four years but halted payments after the FBI approached him in 2014 about illegally hiding large amounts of cash withdrawals from his bank.

He ultimately pleaded guilty to a banking charge and was sentenced in 2016, the AP reported. The plaintiff then sued for breach of contract to pressure the former lawmaker into paying the remaining part of the agreement.

Kristi Browne, who is representing Doe, would not say if the judge’s decision last week played a role in the party’s decision to settle the case, the Tribune reported.

While the settlement will end the litigation, Browne said her client will continue to be affected by what occurred when he was a child.

“It’s never over for a victim of child sexual abuse,” Browne said, according to the Tribune. “It impacts them the rest of their lives.”

 

The Hill reached out to Hastert’s attorney John Ellis for comment.