A month after Dennis Hastert blamed one of his victims for revealing their $3.5 million hush-money deal, that victim now says the imprisoned former U.S. House speaker has no one to blame but himself.
Hastert, 74, paid his victim $1.7 million before the feds blew the lid off their deal with a 2015 indictment. Known publicly only as Individual A, that man has sued Hastert for the remaining $1.8 million, plus interest. Hastert, who is serving a 15-month prison sentence at the Rochester Federal Medical Center in Minnesota, has argued the victim didn’t keep his end of the bargain.
But in a new court filing this week, Individual A’s lawyer said Hastert “desired strict silence,” and he rejected the victim’s suggestion that they consult lawyers or other advisers about their deal. Then, to avoid further scrutiny after banking irregularities were brought to Hastert’s attention, “Hastert chose to make more overt violations of the banking laws that he was warned about.”
Those banking violations led to Hastert’s indictment.
“Nothing occurred to make the contract impossible that could not have been provided for in the contract or prevented by Hastert,” Kristi L. Browne, Individual A’s lawyer, wrote.
The lawsuit was filed in April in Kendall County. A hearing on Hastert’s bid to have the lawsuit dismissed is set for Oct. 13.
Hastert attorney John C. Ellis argued in July that Individual A had no personal-injury claim when he first approached Hastert, decades after the abuse, because the time limit for bringing such a claim had already expired. He also argued that any agreement that takes more than a year to perform must be in writing under Illinois law, and he said a deal to sell silence “is void, contrary to public policy and unenforceable.”
But Browne argued in the new filing that her client “did not threaten to disclose wrongly obtained information about Hastert.” She said Individual A “had every right to disclose his own life story.” Further, she wrote that Hastert admitted molesting Individual A and has “repeatedly” acknowledged their hush-money deal. She wrote that “society is strongly in favor of atonement for child abusers regardless of how long it takes.”
“Hastert has an ongoing moral obligation to any child victim for any harm his conduct caused,” Browne wrote.
The hush-money deal between Hastert and Individual A came to light in May 2015, when federal prosecutors in Chicago indicted Hastert for lying to the FBI and illegally structuring bank withdrawals in an effort to conceal his sexual misconduct. Hastert pleaded guilty to the structuring in October 2015 and he admitted to the sexual abuse during his sentencing hearing last April. Hastert reported to prison in June and is due to be released in August 2017.