Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s primary accuser, identified in court documents variously as “Individual A” or “James Doe”, will seek to keep his name out of ongoing court proceedings, even if those proceedings lead to a trial in Kendall County Court.
The man, who first levelled the sensational allegations against Hastert which led to the former Speaker’s imprisonment, is suing Hastert to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in hush money which he says he was promised but never received.
The case dates back to the seventies, when the now-grown Doe says Hastert sexually molested him during a wrestling trip when he was 14 years old.
Doe said Hastert promised him $3.5 million to keep quiet about the incident. But after $1.7 million was paid, authorities began questioning the former Speaker’s unusual bank withdrawals and the entire affair was uncovered.
Hastert pled guilty to violating banking laws and is currently serving a 15 month sentence in a Minnesota prison.
Today in Kendall County where the man’s lawsuit is pending, his attorney Kristi Browne said it is her client’s intention to fight to remain anonymous.
“It could be done by holding the trial in a closed courtroom, not publicizing the date and time of the trial,” she said. “Depositions similarly, it could be done by not publicizing the date and time of the deposition and the location.”
Such a move would be highly unusual. Even in sensitive criminal cases, judges have been hesitant to close their proceedings. But Browne held out the possibility, even the likelihood, that the question could become a moot issue.
“All I can tell you is that very few cases go to trial, and I don’t expect this one to be any different ,” she said. “I don’t have a feel yet whether they are interested in trying to settle this or not.”
Browne said so far, there have been no settlement discussions on Doe’s monetary demand.
During a brief Wednesday morning hearing, Hastert’s attorney John Ellis said he expects the former Speaker to be released from prison in July.