Ex-House speaker sues sex abuse accuser
for $1.7 million
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[January 20, 2017]
(Reuters) - Former U.S. House
Speaker Dennis Hastert, serving prison time for a financial crime
stemming from a child sex abuse scandal, has filed a lawsuit seeking the
return of $1.7 million in hush money the disgraced politician admitted
paying to one of his accusers.
The filing was made in response to a breach-of-contract case the
unidentified man brought last year claiming Hastert paid only about half
of the $3.5 million he had privately promised as compensation for
decades of pain and suffering his misconduct had caused.
In Hastert's countersuit, filed on Wednesday in Kendall County Circuit
Court in Illinois, he acknowledged paying $1.7 million to the accuser
from 2010 and 2014 to buy his silence, but said their verbal agreement
was not enforceable.
Hastert also argued the plaintiff himself engaged in a breach of
contract by disclosing details of the allegations he made against the
"To the extent any contract existed between plaintiff and defendant,
plaintiff breached that contract," the filing said. "Plaintiff's breach
of conduct resulted in damages to defendant, and plaintiff is
accordingly required to return $1.7 million."
A lawyer for the plaintiff, identified in court documents only as James
Doe, called Hastert's countersuit "predictable."
"Mr. Hastert has decided that rather than live up to his promise to
compensate his victim for his molestation and resulting injury, he will
ask his victim to pay him," attorney Kristi Browne said in a statement.
"He admits to agreeing to make payments, but then denies that it is an
agreement that he has to keep."
Hastert, 75, the longest-serving Republican U.S. House speaker in
history, pleaded guilty in 2015 to the crime of structuring, which
involves withdrawing a large sum of money in small increments to evade
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Former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert leaves the Dirksen
Federal courthouse after his sentencing hearing in Chicago, Illinois,
United States April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Frank Polich/File Photo
He had not been charged with sexual abuse due to statutes of
limitations. Prior to his sentencing last April however, prosecutors
alleged Hastert had molested at least four boys on the wrestling
team he coached during his time as a teacher at a Chicago-area high
school during the 1960s and 1970s
Hastert himself admitted to such abuse when he was sentenced,
receiving a 15-month term in federal prison, to be followed by two
years of probation and participation in a treatment program for sex
Judge Robert Pilmer in November rejected Hastert's motion to have
the civil lawsuit by his accuser dismissed, saying the plaintiff had
established a basis for a "claim for contract."
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa
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