Former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert to plead guilty to hush money charges

CHICAGO (REUTERS) - Former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert has reached a deal with prosecutors and expects to plead guilty to wrongdoing in a hush-money case, his lawyers told a federal judge in Chicago on Thursday (Oct 15).

Prosecutors and defence attorneys did not say what the charges were, or whether Mr Hastert, the Republican speaker from 1999 to 2007, would serve time in prison.

He was charged in May with trying to hide large cash transactions as part of a hush-money scheme and with lying to the FBI.

The agreement is expected to be submitted to US District Judge Thomas Durkin on Monday (Oct 19), attorneys for Hastert said during a brief court appearance. Mr Hastert did not attend.

Mr Hastert is scheduled to plead guilty on Oct 28.

Federal prosecutors allege he promised to pay US$3.5 million (S$ 4.8 million) to an unnamed individual from his hometown of Yorkville, Illinois, to conceal past misconduct.

The individual who was allegedly receiving hush money from Mr Hastert has not surfaced publicly. But anonymous law enforcement officials have told a number of media outlets that Mr Hastert was trying to cover up sexual abuse of a male decades ago when he worked as a high school teacher and wrestling coach.