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Ex-House Speaker settles child sexual abuse payments suit

Hastert judge says letters must be public
Posted at 5:46 PM, Sep 15, 2021

YORKVILLE, Ill. (AP) -- Once powerful former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and a man who accused him of child sexual abuse reached a tentative out-of-court settlement Wednesday over Hastert's refusal to pay $1.8 million in exchange for the man's silence, lawyers for both men said.

The lawyers would not release details of the settlement in the case, which was set to go to trial next week in an Illinois court.

The man has been referred to only as James Doe in court papers since the breach of contract lawsuit was filed in 2016. He had said Hastert paid him only about half of the promised $3.5 million in hush money.

Federal prosecutors said during a related criminal case that sent Hastert to prison for over a year that the agreement was voluntarily entered into and that the victim never sought to blackmail the Illinois Republican that he'd go public about the abuse. It happened when the victim was a high school wrestler and the now 79-year-old Hastert was his coach.

Hastert paid $1.7 million over four years but stopped the payments after the FBI questioned him in 2014 about illegally concealing huge cash withdraws from his bank. After Hastert pleaded guilty to a banking charge and was sentenced in 2016, the victim sued for breach of contract to force Hastert to pay the outstanding $1.8 million.