Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves federal court after his sentencing hearing in Chicago on April 27. Hastert, imprisoned to 15 months on charges of fraud and lying to federal agents, is looking to get $1.7 million back from one of his sexual abuse accusers who filed a lawsuit seeking Hastert pay $1.8 million in promised hush-money. File Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, imprisoned on charges of fraud and lying to federal agents, is looking to get $1.7 million back from one of his sexual abuse accusers over a verbal breach-of contract-dispute.
On documents signed by Hastert made public on Thursday, Hastert requested, in a counterclaim, that a Kendall County judge throw out a lawsuit filed by Individual A -- the unidentified man who accused Hastert of sexual abuse. The lawsuit by Individual A seeks to make Hastert pay a remaining $1.8 million out of a total $3.5 million the former leader of the House promised to Individual A if he kept Hastert's sexual abuse a secret.
Hastert's lawsuit alleges that a verbal pact is not the same as a valid and enforceable contract and, if it were, Individual A is the one who broke the contract by speaking to federal authorities -- meaning Individual A should give Hastert the hush-money he already paid back.
"To the extent any contract existed between plaintiff [Individual A] and defendant [Hastert], plaintiff breached that contract," Hastert's lawyers wrote. "Plaintiff's breach of conduct resulted in damages to defendant and plaintiff is accordingly required to return $1.7 million to defendant."
Kristi Browne, Individual A's lawyer, said Hastert's response is "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," 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. His response is predictable and we look forward to entering the discovery phase of the case."
Hastert, 75, was sentenced in April last year to 15 months in prison. Prosecutors said Hastert sexually abused four boys between the ages of 14 and 17 when he worked as a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in the small town of Yorkville, Ill., west of Chicago, between 1965 and 1981.
The former Republican Party leader pleaded guilty in October 2015 to bank fraud for "structuring" withdrawals from his bank account to evade mandatory reporting requirements for any transaction $10,000 or above.
Hastert admitted he arranged the payments to Individual A to cover up decades-old alleged sexual misconduct. He also admitted lying to the FBI when questioned in 2014 about the bank withdrawals.
Hastert, who served as House speaker for eight years, said he agreed to make the payment to settle "past misconduct" against that person.
He attracted the attention of federal regulators in late 2014 for making numerous cash withdrawals in amounts less than $10,000 -- the threshold at which banks are required by law to report them -- to pay off the former student.
In court, he initially admitted to the abuse, saying he "mistreated" some wrestlers he coached, saying: "They looked to me, and I took advantage of them."
"What I did was wrong and I regret it," Hastert said.
Northern District of Illinois Judge Thomas M. Durkin -- who called Hastert a "serial child molester" -- said during sentencing that Hastert should enroll in a sex-offender treatment program.
Although Hastert previously did not admit to sexually abusing the boys, when Durkin directly asked if Hastert sexually abused the victims, Hastert's reply was "Yes."