CHICAGO – The attorney for former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert lashed out in court Thursday over leaks in the sensational case, calling allegations in the media of sexual abuse in Hastert’s past “unconscionable” and saying a fair trial could be jeopardized.
Washington-based attorney Thomas Green said he may ask U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin to order an investigation into the origin of the leaks from unnamed law-enforcement sources.
“Something has to be done to stop these leaks,” Green said. “They are unconscionable and they have to be stopped.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Block said his office was taking “the appropriate measures” to investigate the leaks.
Hastert, 73, is accused of agreeing to make $3.5 million in hush-money payments to cover up wrongdoing from decades ago against an acquaintance during Hastert’s time as a high school teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville. According to the charges, Hastert lied about the reasons for his withdrawals of $952,000 in cash when the FBI questioned him in December.
The alleged victim is identified in the charges only as Individual A. Although the indictment only hints at the wrongdoing, federal law-enforcement sources have told the Chicago Tribune that Hastert was paying to cover up sexual abuse of a Yorkville High School student. The FBI also interviewed a second person who raised similar allegations against Hastert, sources said.