Timeline of the Career of Ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert | NBC Chicago
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Timeline of the Career of Ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert

Before the indictment was handed down in May, Hastert was remarkable for being a little-known state lawmaker from suburban Chicago who rose to the third-highest office in the nation

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    Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) speaks with reporters after delivering his farewell address to Congress November 15, 2007 in Washington, DC. Hastert was the longest-serving Republican speaker in U.S. history, and the first speaker since 1955 to remain in Congress after losing the speakership. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    A federal grand jury has accused former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert of agreeing to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep an unidentified person silent about "prior misconduct" by the Illinois Republican.

    On Thursday, lawyers for both sides in Hastert's case say they have reached a plea agreement. A plea deal would avert a trial and help keep any potentially embarrassing secrets quiet.

    Before the indictment was handed down in May, Hastert was remarkable for being a little-known state lawmaker from suburban Chicago who rose to the third-highest office in the nation:

    1965: Hastert begins teaching history at Yorkville High School and coaching wrestling team.

    1976: Hastert named Illinois Coach of the Year after leading Yorkville to state wrestling championship.

    1980: Hastert comes in third in Illinois state House of Representatives primary. But GOP chooses him to replace fatally ill primary winner; Hastert later wins general election.

    1981: Hastert leaves Yorkville teaching post.

    1986: GOP leaders name Hastert to replace freshman Republican U.S. Rep. John Grotberg, who was battling cancer. Hastert defeats Democratic opponent with 52 percent of vote — the closest of his many elections.

    1998: Hastert tells incumbent Speaker Newt Gingrich dissatisfaction in GOP ranks makes it unlikely the Georgia lawmaker will hold onto post. Gingrich resigns next day.

    1999: Hastert voted speaker of the House of Representatives.

    2007: Hastert steps down as speaker after becoming longest serving Republican in position.

    2007: J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government and Public Policy founded at Wheaton College

    2008: Hastert joins Washington lobbying firm of Dickstein Shapiro as senior adviser.

    May 2015: Hastert, 73, charged with evading bank regulations as he withdrew less than $10,000 at a time to make alleged hush money payments, according to the indictment. Hastert also charged with one count of lying to the FBI about reason for bank withdrawals.

    Oct. 15, 2015: An attorney for Hastert tells a federal judge that Hastert intends to plead guilty. The judge schedules an Oct. 28 hearing.

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