Hastert Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Charges in Hush Money Case

The former speaker uttered a "yes" in a low voice when Durkin asked if Hastert understood the $4,500 bond amount

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges that he violated banking rules and lied to the FBI about $3.5 million he agreed to pay to someone from his days as high school teacher not to reveal a secret about past misconduct. 

The Department of Justice and IRS allege Hastert, 73, withdrew $1.7 million from various banks between 2010 to 2014 and provided the funds to an unnamed person "to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct" before federal agents began scrutinizing the transactions.

Judge Thomas M. Durkin said Hastert must not violate any laws, cooperate in collection of DNA if authorized by court and advise officials before changing his name or phone number.

The former House speaker surrendered his passport in court. He was also ordered to have no contact with victims or witnesses in the case and have any firearms removed from his property by June 23.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Block. Hastert's plea was entered by his attorney, Thomas Green, of the Chicago-based firm Sidley Austin. The former speaker uttered a "yes" in a low voice when Durkin asked if Hastert understood the $4,500 bond amount.

Haster left his home Tuesday morning and first traveled to Green's office before heading to the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse before 1 p.m. amid a scrum of cameras and reporters. 

A federal law enforcement official told NBC News that Hastert was making payments to a man in order to conceal a sexual relationship they had while the man was a student at Yorkville High School.

Hastert was indicted nearly two weeks ago with making regular withdrawals from his bank accounts below a limit that would require reporting and then lying to federal officials when asked about those withdrawals.

The indictment did not specify the alleged misconduct or identify "Individual A" other than saying the person was someone from Yorkville, Illinois, where Hastert was employed as teacher and wrestling coach from 1965 to 1981.

Hastert's name was removed Thursday from the Washington, D.C. lobbying and law firm where he worked, and a spokesperson there said Hastert had resigned.

If convicted of the charges against him, Hastert faces up to five years in prison for each of the two counts and a $250,000 fine.

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