James Doe's quest to collect the remainder of his $3.5 million hush-money from disgraced former House Speaker Dennis Hastert can continue in court, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Judge Robert Pilmer denied a motion from Hastert's lawyers to dismiss the breach-of-contract lawsuit. The next court hearing was set for January 18.
Attorneys for one of Hastert's victim's, known as James Doe, claimed Hastert was the first to reveal the existence of the alleged arrangement and said Hastert was trying to get out of paying the remainder of the deal "on a technicality."
“Mr. Hastert has publically admitted he entered into this contract. He's never denied it. In fact, he public admitted it in open court," attorney Kristi Browne said. “My client gave up…his right to sell his story, speak about it publicly, gave up his right to speak to anybody about what happened to him and that is substantial consideration for this motion.”
Meanwhile, Hastert's attorney argued James Doe, also referred to as "Individual A," "breached that obligation when he disclosed not only the agreement but the subject matter of the agreement."
In his lawsuit, James Doe said that it was not his fault that a hush-money deal fell apart when Hastert’s bank withdrawals caught the attention of the FBI.
“Hastert did not deny the abuse,” the man’s attorney, Kristi Browne wrote in the motion, filed in Kendall County Court. “Hastert admitted his wrongdoing and agreed to compensate Plaintiff.”
The former Speaker and his now-adult victim had entered into a verbal pact where Hastert was to pay the man $3.5 million dollars. But the payments stopped after $1.7 million, when banking officials became alarmed at the frequency of the former Speaker’s withdrawals. Hastert pled guilty to a crime known as “structuring”, making withdrawals of less than $10,000 to avoid being detected by federal regulators.
“The plaintiff requested that Hastert consult an attorney, to ensure their agreement could be legally executed, but Hastert declined, promising to pay every last dollar of their agreed monetary settlement,” Browne wrote. “The banking issue was brought to Hastert’s attention, but to preclude further scrutiny, Hastert chose to make more overt violations of the banking laws he was warned about.”
In a motion seeking dismissal of the case, Hastert’s lawyer argued that the man has no further claim, because the statue of limitation had expired. But Doe, known previously in Hastert’s criminal case as “Individual A”, rejected that argument, at one point comparing the case to a parent who must make good on paternity to an illegitimate child.
“Hastert has an ongoing moral obligation to any child victim for any harm his conduct caused,” the motion states. “Was the confidentiality provision of the parties’ agreement worth $3.5 million? Hastert certainly thought so.”
Hastert's attorney also argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because Doe violated the confidentiality agreement when he spoke to federal authorities, citing a breach-of-contract.
Hastert is serving a 15-month sentence at a Federal prison in Rochester, Minnesota.