Lawyers for former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert are talking to federal prosecutors about a possible plea deal in the Illinois Republican's hush-money case, according to several media reports .
Both sides told a federal judge negotiations were underway during a Monday hearing in Chicago. The judge was set to rule on a second request by Hastert to delay a deadline for pre-trial motions in the criminal case. A motion filed by Hastert's lawyers last week stated the government and defense teams were discussing issues Hastert "may raise in his pretrial motions," and asked the deadline be extended to Oct. 13. The motion also requested a Nov. 16 status hearing be rescheduled for a later date.
Hastert was not present for the hearing. A May indictment alleged the 73-year-old structured cash withdrawals in increments designed to evade bank reporting laws, then lied to the FBI about the transactions. Prosecutors allege he had agreed to pay $3.5 million to someone identified as "Individual A" to hide past misconduct.
In June, Hastert pleaded not guilty to violating banking laws and lying to the FBI.
A deal could mean the identity of "Individual A," a person who knew Hastert before his political career when he was a wrestling coach and teacher at Yorkville High School, remains secret.
If the case went to trial, lawyers said its merits would be the bank transactions. But Capitol Hill has been shaken by allegations of past sexual misconduct by the longtime lawmaker, that surfaced shortly after charges were announced.
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