Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted yesterday on federal criminal charges for allegedly paying a male from his past to try to conceal prior "sexual misconduct," the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday, citing two unnamed federal law enforcement officials.
More from Reuters:
One of the officials cited by the newspaper said the alleged misconduct involved a male and occurred during Hastert's time as a high school wrestling coach and teacher in Yorkville, Illinois, before becoming a lawmaker.
Prosecutors said the charges related to Hastert's alleged effort to hide $3.5 million in payments he was making to a person to conceal past misconduct, but did not detail the nature of the misconduct.
Asked why Hastert, an Illinois Republican who become his party's longest-serving House speaker before leaving Congress in 2007, was making the payments, the official told the Times that it was intended to conceal Hastert's past relationship with the male.
"It was sex," said the official, whom spoke on condition of anonymity.
Hastert, 73, was charged on Thursday with structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000, and lying to the FBI about his withdrawals.
Each count of the two-count indictment carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The unnamed sources underscored that the "misconduct" had nothing to do with his time in office and reached back to his days as a teacher and coach before his political career.
The Republican from a small suburb of Chicago was his party's longest serving Speaker of the House at 8 years.