Answering under oath, Hastert said in the deposition his legal team crafted the statements and he went along with it to "get it over with." He denied sexually abusing the man behind the long-simmering
Hastert, now 77, was never charged with sex crimes because of an expired statute of limitations, but he was apologetic during an
She is seeking permission from the judge in the
It's unclear what action -- if any -- could be taken against Hastert federally.
In her motion, Browne argues Hastert is hiding behind his attorney-client privilege with the federal case and the lawsuit's protective orders "as a sword rather than a shield to cover-up his wrongdoing ... this in short is a fraud upon this court." She included the Hastert deposition as part of that motion.
Unless a settlement is reached, a trial in the civil lawsuit is tentatively set to begin in mid-November. A court hearing is slated for Friday in
WMAQ-Ch. 5 Chicago recently obtained a transcript of the deposition from the court file. It was supposed to be under seal, but lawyers in the case say an unredacted version was included for a time in the public court records. The Tribune also has the nearly 150-page transcript.
Lawyers on both sides said they hoped the court would bar the media from publicizing details in the transcript.
Hastert has kept a low profile in recent years and not spoken publicly about his legal troubles since the sentencing. He was released from federal prison in summer 2017 after serving part of his 15-month sentence.
Here are some of the main takeaways from the deposition:
The backtracking: At sentencing, Hastert told U.S. District Judge
But, in his deposition, Hastert said he "didn't have any choice" but to go along with an apologetic statement he said his attorneys wrote for him and the words included in the plea agreement.
"I wanted to structure a plea deal agreement and get it over with," he said.
Hastert stopped short of calling his statements at sentencing untrue but made it clear those were his attorneys' words, not his own.
"So the statement that you read was false?" Browne asked.
"Well, I just don't know," Hastert replied, "I'm not sure that my view of it was the same as the people that wrote it."
Browne asked if Hastert's comments that he felt remorse were sincere. Hastert responded, "I was overwhelmed with a lot of feelings at that time."
The motel incident: The man who filed the lawsuit alleged Hastert touched him in a sexual manner when he was 14 at a motel during an out-of-state wrestling camp in the 1970s. In Hastert's federal criminal case, his lawyers acknowledged the motel stay but said Hastert simply helped the boy with a pulled groin injury.
In his deposition, Hastert was more specific. He said the boy told him he had a "groin pull," and "asked me to work on it, and I did."
Hastert said he was interrupted by a knock on the door, which he believed to be other students "out running around."
Hastert said he came back into the motel room after dealing with the other kids, and the boy was already "in bed and wrapped up ..."
He denied anything sexual occurred and said he believed the boy had on his shorts during the massage. "At any time did you ask him to remove his shorts?" Browne asked. "I don't believe so," he responded.
"Did you ever acknowledge that plaintiff had been harmed by the incident in the hotel room?" the attorney pressed. "No," Hastert replied.
Hastert admitted in the deposition that he never bothered to correct his accuser when confronted about the incident during their 2010 meetings.
"I let him talk," he said. "I listened to what he had to say."
The meetings: Hastert said the man met with him at his office and accused him of inappropriate contact decades earlier. The former student-athlete didn't directly ask for money in that first meeting, but he recently had become unemployed and had other problems, Hastert said.
The two met again about a week later, when Hastert said the man demanded cash.
"Well, he made a demand for three and a half million dollars," Hastert said in the deposition. "He asked me if my son, who had just run for
Hastert said he made his first payment of
Hastert said he agreed to pay up to
Secrecy: In the deposition, Hastert said he never went to the police because that would break the verbal confidentiality pact between the two men. He said the man suggested they put their agreement in writing and involve a lawyer or mutual third party to mediate, but Hastert didn't want others involved.
The payments, however, stopped in late 2014 after Hastert's bank alerted federal authorities about the suspicious withdrawals. The man is suing for the remaining
Hastert said an FBI agent and federal prosecutor first approached him in
Hastert said he initially didn't mention the man or their pact to federal authorities. But, he said, they soon challenged his account.
"And finally they kind of threatened me, and I did tell them," he said. Hastert said he felt the man was blackmailing him. "Because he implied that this could go public if I didn't pay him."
He later cooperated with authorities, who fed him instructions through notes on what questions to ask the man in subsequent recorded phone calls.
Authorities concluded Hastert was not the victim and, in a bombshell indictment made public in
During the deposition, Browne asked Hastert that if he was innocent of sexual misconduct why had he agreed to pay millions of dollars to the man.
The reason: Hastert said he wanted to avoid a media "circus."
Hastert said he witnessed the frenzy around other disgraced politicians, such as former
Statute of limitations: Hastert was concerned about his own career and reputation and his son's chances of following in his footsteps politically.
But Hastert said he really wasn't too worried about facing criminal sex charges. "I think the statute of limitations was covered by that."
Nonetheless, even though never charged with sex crimes, Hastert did get labeled in federal court. The judge who sentenced him in the federal case called Hastert a "serial child molester" and pressed him to admit to the sexual abuse.
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The reasons for the restrictions where not spelled out publicly, but Hastert at the time was undergoing a court-ordered sex offender evaluation.
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Hastert, in the deposition, said he wasn't "specifically" told what sparked the new restriction.
"Were you surprised that the conditions were changed?" Browne asked him.
"I'm beyond being surprised by anything," Hastert replied.
His attorney objected to further questions, noting such details were under seal.
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