US & Canada

Former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert to plead guilty

Dennis Hastert pictured on 9 June 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Hastert has been accused of sexually abusing at least one boy in the 1970s

Former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert will plead guilty in a case tied to hush-money, his lawyer has said.

The 73-year-old is charged with lying and breaking financial laws in an attempt to pay $3.5 million (£2.3 million) to cover up "misconduct".

The FBI said Mr Hastert broke federal banking laws by withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars at once.

The charges may be connected to his history as a teacher and wrestling coach in Illinois in the 1970s.

One woman has said Mr Hastert sexually abused her brother then and she believes he was not the only victim.

Mr Hastert has not been charged with sexual abuse and his lawyer has not said what counts Mr Hastert will plead guilty to.

Jolene Burdge told ABC News in June that her late brother Steve Reinboldt never came forward about the alleged abuse because he feared "no one would believe him".

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Hastert (left) was a teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville, Illinois in the 1970s

She said he told about the abuse in 1979, when he revealed he was gay.

The FBI interviewed Ms Burdge, who has considered coming forward with her brother's story in the past, in May.

Ms Burdge never asked Mr Hastert for money, but she thinks the person cited in the indictment who was paid off knows what happened to her brother.

The terms of the deal will not be disclosed until the pleas are made public.

The plea will prevent a trial and most likely keep embarrassing details of the case from being made public.

Before the deal, he faced up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Mr Hastert served as speaker of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007 and served in the House since 1987.

After losing the job of speaker in 2006 and resigning from the House of Representatives in 2007, Mr Hastert joined the Washington law firm Dickstein Shapiro as a senior adviser.