Hastert Accuser Sues for the Rest of His Hush Money

Former House speaker will be sentenced Wednesday
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2016 3:40 AM CDT
Updated Apr 26, 2016 6:03 AM CDT
Hastert Accuser Sues for the Rest of His Hush Money
Dennis Hastert departs the federal courthouse in Chicago last June.   (AP Photo/Christian K. Lee, File)

A new legal problem has surfaced for Dennis Hastert ahead of his Wednesday sentencing on financial charges related to payment of hush money over alleged sexual abuse: He never finished the payments, and the accuser has filed a lawsuit. The plaintiff, who says he was 14 when Hastert molested him decades ago, wants the remaining $1.8 million of the $3.5 million he says the former House speaker promised him as compensation, the New York Times reports. According to the lawsuit, which refers to the accuser as "James Doe," Hastert agreed to compensate the man for "trauma he suffered as a result of the admitted sexual molestation and abuse." In the years after the molestation, Doe suffered "severe panic attacks which led to periods of unemployment, career changes, bouts of depression, hospitalization, and long-term psychiatric treatment," the suit states.

The agreement was made after the former student confronted Hastert in 2008. After suspicious transactions attracted the attention of the FBI, Hastert claimed he was being extorted by a former student, but investigators recorded a conversation between him and the accuser and decided the agreement did not constitute blackmail. According to the lawsuit, the accuser even suggested bringing in lawyers to draft a formal agreement for compensation, but Hastert "preferred to keep the negotiations strictly confidential," NBC News reports. Other accusations of abuse during Hastert's days as a high school wrestling coach in Illinois will be aired at the sentencing hearing, though the statutes of limitations for sexual misconduct charges expired long ago, NPR notes. Prosecutors have recommended a prison sentence of up to six months. (More Dennis Hastert stories.)

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