A lawyer for former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert says media reports of alleged past misconduct have severely complicated the hush-money case.
Attorney Thomas Green told a federal judge during a Tuesday status hearing that the allegations are "an 800-pound gorilla" in the room.
A May indictment says Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to someone the document identifies only as "Individual A" to hide past misconduct. The Associated Press and other media, citing anonymous sources, have reported the payments were intended to conceal claims of sexual misconduct decades ago.
The allegations are not mentioned in the indictment, and Green said he doesn't know how to wrestle with that issue.
Hastert has pleaded not guilty to violating banking laws and lying to the FBI.