Indictment of Dennis Hastert relates to sexual misconduct, but is still a big mystery

Indictment of Dennis Hastert relates to sexual misconduct, but is still a big mystery
(Image: AP, Susan Walsh via NY Post)

[Ed. – This whole thing is extremely weird.  There’s something very off about the fact that the only identifying information in any of the public releases is the name “Dennis Hastert.”  Maybe it will pass the smell test eventually, but it hasn’t yet.  Emphasis added.]

On Friday, people familiar with the matter said that “Individual A” was a male former student, and that the payments were made to keep secret allegations of sexual misconduct that happened decades ago when Mr. Hastert was a high-school teacher and coach.

Individual A, whose identity hasn’t been revealed, was a resident of Yorkville, Ill., where Mr. Hastert taught and was a wrestling coach from about 1965 to 1981, according to the indictment. …

[T]he situation remains full of unknowns, such as whether Individual A has been charged with any crime. Legal experts say the indictment makes out a potential case of extortion by Individual A against Mr. Hastert—a crime punishable under a multitude of federal and state statutes.

Northwestern University Law School professor James Lindgren, an expert on extortion law, said it is unusual for a blackmail victim to be identified but not the perpetrator at this stage in a prosecution. …

Between 2010 and 2014, Mr. Hastert paid $1.7 million in cash to Individual A, according to the indictment. For nearly two years, he withdrew money in $50,000 increments and paid it to the person about every six weeks, the indictment said. …

Yet another question: why federal prosecutors are bringing charges against Mr. Hastert in the first place. Bringing charges related to any allegedly illegal sexual misconduct, especially if it happened decades ago, would likely be banned entirely by statutes-of-limitations. The charges against Mr. Hastert—lying and attempting to avoid money-laundering laws—are relatively minor, legal experts say.

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