A date is looming where disgraced former House Speaker Dennis Hastert will be forced to sit for questioning by lawyers representing the man who revealed his secret past.
That man, identified in court documents only as James Doe, first raised allegations of sexual abuse at Hastert’s hands decades ago. Hastert’s large bank withdrawals to satisfy a hush money arrangement between the two raised red flags with banking regulators, exposing the hidden payments.
Doe contends Hastert owes him $1.8 million, the balance of $3.5 million he says the former Speaker promised to pay to guarantee his accuser’s silence. Today in Kendall County Court, attorneys for both sides told judge Robert Pilmer they are close to setting the ground rules for depositions from both parties.
Barring settlement of the case, Hastert would be forced to sit for what are certain to be uncomfortable and potentially explosive questions about incidents which occurred decades ago, when he was the wrestling coach at Yorkville High School.
Attorney John Ellis, representing Hastert, and Kristi Browne, who represents Doe, told the judge they hoped to have the rules ironed out, and potentially the depositions of both parties finished within the next two months.
“Sixty days sounds reasonable,” Ellis told the judge. “Whether with the holidays we can get it done, I just don’t want to say definitely.”
“I can definitely produce my client within sixty days,” Browne said.
It was Doe’s allegation that Hastert molested him in a motel on a wrestling trip when he was 14 years old. Federal prosecutors alleged that they believed Hastert had sexual contact with at least four boys during his time at the high school, between 1965 and 1981.
At a sentencing hearing, Judge Thomas Durkin called the former House Speaker a “serial child molester”, but because the charges were confined to violations of banking rules, he received a sentence of only 15 months in prison.
In the current case, the judge set a hearing date for February 23rd.