Newspaper article Roll Call

Sexual Allegations Follow 'Sparse' Indictment of Hastert

Newspaper article Roll Call

Sexual Allegations Follow 'Sparse' Indictment of Hastert

Article excerpt

Hastert Indictment

At least one man allegedly told the FBI a decades-old story of being inappropriately touched by former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, The New York Times reported Friday afternoon, one of a flurry of leaks from anonymous sources familiar with the investigation of the Illinois Republican.

The allegations stem from before his political career, when Hastert was a wrestling coach and teacher at Yorkville High School, and BuzzFeed News has suggested there may be multiple victims. Since the 73-year-old was indicted Thursday on federal charges allegedly related to a $3.5 million hush-money scheme to conceal "prior misconduct," multiple reports have suggested "Individual A" may have been sexually abused by Hastert.

"It is a fairly sparse indictment," said Scott Coffina, a senior partner in the litigation group at Drinker Biddle & Reath, who once pursued recoveries for fraud against the government as a former assistant U.S. attorney. "This lack of details leads to all types of speculation."

The day started with clips of an uncomfortable moment from C- SPAN's Washington Journal on Nov. 13, 2014, when a man calling himself "Bruce" from Illinois called in and said "Hello, Denny. ... Remember me from Yorkville?" then started laughing.

No court date had been set for Hastert's arraignment in the 24 hours since the indictment was filed. Hastert was released on his own recognizance on a preliminary bail of $4,500 but has made no public statements.

A press contact for the U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois told CQ Roll Call on a Friday afternoon phone call the office did not intend to send out any further updates on the Hastert case.

Hastert's legal team also remains a mystery.

Lawyers representing the former speaker in a civil suit in Illinois' Northern District, including Dickstein Shapiro's Justin A. Chiarodo, do not appear to be defending him against the criminal charges. A receptionist for Hastert's son, Ethan Allen Hastert of the Chicago-based Mayer Brown LLP, said she could not answer the question and a voicemail was not returned.

Hastert stepped away from his job at lobbying shop Dickstein Shapiro shortly after the news was announced. …

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